Enciclopédia Mackey – CLUBS ~ COMO

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The eighteenth century was distinguished in England by the existence of numerous local and ephemeral associations under the name of Clubs, where men of different classes of society met for amusement and recreation. Each profession and trade had its club, and “whatever might be a man’s character or disposition,” says Oliver, ”he would find in London a club that would square with his ideas.” Addison, in his paper on the origin of clubs (Spectator, No. 9) remarks: “Man is said to be a social animal, and as an instance of it we may observe that we take all occasions and. pretenses of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal assemblies which are commonly known by the name of Clubs. When a set of men find themselves agreed in any particular, though never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of Fraternity and meet once or twice a week, upon the account of such a fantastic resemblance.” Hard drinking was characteristic of those times, and excesses too often marked the meetings of these societies. It was at this time that the Institution of Freemasonry underwent its revival commonly known as the revival of 1717, and it is not strange that its social character was somewhat affected by the customs of the day. The Lodges therefore assumed at that time too much of a convivial character, derived from the customs of the existing clubs and coteries; but the moral and religious principles upon which the Institution was founded prevented any undue indulgence; and although the members were permitted the enjoyment of decent refreshment, there was a standing law which provided against all excess (see Masonic Clubs, National League of).


In olden times it was deemed proper that the Tiler of a Lodge, like the beadle of a parish–whose functions were in some respects similar-should be distinguished by a tawdry dress. In a schedule of the regalia, records, etc., of the Grand Lodge of all England, taken at York in 1779, to be found in Hughan’s Masonic Sketches and Reprints (page 33), we find the following item; “a blue cloth coat with a red collar for the Tyler.”


A country in the southeast of Asia in the extreme south of French Indo-China. The name was formerly applied to the whole Annamese Empire but is now usually applied to the six southern provinces annexed by France in 1862 and 1867. The Grand Orient of France opened a Lodge in Cochin China, at Saigon, Le Réveil de l’orient, meaning The Awakening of the East, in 1868. The Grand Lodge of France in 1908 also established a Lodge at Saigon, La Ruche d’orient, meaning The Beehive of the East (see Indo-China, French).


A very corrupt word in the Fourth Degree of the Scottish Rite; there said to signify in the form of a. screw, and to be the name of the winding staircase which led to the middle chamber. The true Latin word is cochlea. But the matter is so historically absurd that the word ought to be and is rejected in the modern rituals.


The ancients made the cock a symbol of courage, and consecrated him to Mars, Pallas, and Bellona, deities of war. Some have supposed that it is in reference to this quality that the cock is used in the jewel of the Captain-General of an Encampment of Knights Templar. Reghellini, however, gives a different explanation of this symbol. He says that the cock was the emblem of the sun and of life, and that as the ancient Christians allegorically deplored the death of the solar orb in Christ, the cock recalled its life and resurrection. The cock, we know, was a symbol among the early Christians, and is repeatedly to be found on the tombs in the catacombs of Rome. Hence it seems probable that we should give a Christian interpretation to the jewel of a Knight Templar as symbolic of the resurrection.


Some few of the German Lodges have a custom of permitting their members to wear a blue cockade in the hat as a symbol of equality and freedom-a symbolism which, as Lenning says, it is difficult to understand, and the decoration is in appropriate as a part of the clothing of a Freemason. Yet it is probable that it was a conception of this kind that induced Cagliostro to prescribe the cockade as a part of the investiture of a female candidate in the initiation of his Lodges. Clavel says the Venerable or Master of a French Lodge wears a black cockade.


The cockle-shell was worn by pilgrims in their hats as a token of their profession; later on was used in the ceremonies of Templarism.


Born February 26, 1845; died January 10, 1917. Famous American scout and showman, pony express mail carrier covering seventy-five miles daily in wild country among hostile Indians; served as cavalry man and guide through Civil War; contracted to supply laborers on construction of Kansas-Pacific railroad with meat and in eighteen months killed four thousand buffaloes and became known as Buffalo Bill; served as army scout against Sioux and Cheyennes, 1868-72, and again in 1876, when in single combat he killed Chief Yellow Hand; member of Nebraska Legislature ; again serving as scout against Sioux Indians, 1890-1. A member of Platte Valley Lodge No 32, North Platte, Nebraska, Initiated March 5,1870; Passed April 2, 1870; Raised January 10, 1871. Became Mark Alaster, Past Master and Most Excellent Master, November 14, 1888, and was exalted on November 15, 1888, in Euphrates Chapter No. 15, Royal Arch Masons at North Platte, Companion Cody selecting as his Mark a buffalo’s head. He was created a Knight Templar, April 2, 1889, in Palestine Commandery No. 13, at North Platte. This information sent to us by Worshipful Master Abner J. Wessling of Platte Valley Lodge. Brother Cody was given Masonic burial by Golden City Lodge No, 1 at Golden, Colorado, and his remains rest on Lookout Mountain where there is also a Memorial Museum in that State.


Latin word meaning an assembly. It is incorrectly used in some old Latin Masonic diplomas for a Lodge. It is used by Laurence Dermott in a diploma dated September 10, 1764, where he signs himself Sec. JI. Coetus, or Secretary of the Grand Lodge.


In the Ancient Mysteries the aspirant could not claim a participation in the highest secrets until he had been placed in the Pastos, a bed or coffin. The placing him in the coffin was called the symbolical death of the mysteries, and his deliverance was termed a raising from the dead. “The mind,” says an ancient writer, quoted by Stobaeus, “is affected in death just as it is in the initiation into the mysteries. And word answers to word, as well as thing to thing; for is to die, and to be initiated.” The coffin in Freemasonry is found on tracing boards of the early part of the eighteenth century, and has always constituted a part of the symbolism of the Third Degree, where the reference is precisely the same as that of the Pastos in the Ancient Mysteries.


Grand Chaplain of England in 1814


A Hebrew word pronounced kohane, signifying a priest. The French Masonic writers, indulging in a Gallic custom of misspelling all names derived from other languages, universally spell it coën.


See Paschalis, Martinez


He published at London, in 1728, and again in 1731, the Old Constitutions, engraved on thirty copper plates, under the title of “A Book of the Ancient Constitutions of the Free and Accepted Masons.” In 1751, Cole printed a third edition with the title of The Ancient Constitutions and Charges of Freemasons, with a true representation of their noble Art in several Lectures or Speeches. Subsequent editions were published up to 1794. Brother Richard Spencer, the well-known Masonic bibliographer, says that Cole engraved his plates from a manuscript which he calls the Constitutions of 1726, or from a similar manuscript by the same scribe. Brother Hughan published in 1869 in his Constitutions of the Freemasons, in a limited edition of seventy copies, a lithographed facsimile of the 1729 edition of Cole, and in 1897 a facsimile of the 1731 edition, which was limited to 200 copies, was published by Richard Jackson of Leeds, with an introduction by Brother Hughan.


He was at one time the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, and the author of a work entitled The Freemason’s Library, or General Ahiman Rezon, the first edition of which appeared in 1817, and the second in 1826. It is something more than a mere monitor or manual of the Degrees, and in Brother Mackey’s opinion greatly excels in literary pretensions the contemporary works of Webb and Cross.


The record from which Cole is supposed to have made his engraved Constitutions, now known as the Spencer Manuscript. It was in the possession of Brother Richard Spencer, who published it in 1871, under the title of A Book of the Ancient Constitutions of the Free and Accepted Masons. Anno Dom., 1726. The subtitle is The Beginning and First Foundation of the Most Worthy Craft of Masonry, with the charges thereunto belonging. In 1875 it was bought by Brother E. T. Carson of Cincinnati, Ohio.


An ornament worn around the neck by the officers of Lodges, to which is suspended a jewel indicative of the wearer’s rank. The color of the collar varies in the different grades of Freemasonry. That of a symbolic Lodge is blue; of a Past Master, purple; of a Royal Arch Mason, scarlet; of a Secret Master, white bordered with black; of a Perfect Master, green, etc. These colors are not arbitrary, but are each accompanied with a symbolic signification. In the United States, the collar worn by Grand Officers in the Grand Lodge is, properly, purple edged with gold. In the Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Officers wear chains of gold or metal gilt instead of collars, but on other occasions, collars of ribbon, garter blue, four inches broad, embroidered or plain. The use of the collar in Freemasonry, as an official decoration, is of very old date. It is a regulation that its form should be triangular; that is, that it should terminate on the breast in a point. The symbolical reference is evident. The Masonic collar is derived from the practices of heraldry; they are worn not only by municipal officers and officers of State, but also by knights of the various orders as a part of their investiture.


The regular Convocation of the subordinate bodies of the Society of Rosicrucians is called an Assemblage of the College, at which their mysteries are celebrated by initiation and advancement, at the conclusion of which the Mystic Circle is broken.


These were established in Paris between 1730 and 1740, and were rapidly being promulgated over France, when they were superseded by the Scottish Chapters.


There was at one time a great disposition exhibited by the Fraternity of the United States to establish Colleges, to be placed under the supervision of Grand Lodges. The first one ever endowed in this country was that at Lexington, in Missouri, established by the Grand Lodge of that State, in October, 1841, which for some time pursued a prosperous career. Other Grand Lodges, such as those of Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida, and a few others, subsequently either actually organized or took the preliminary steps for organizing Masonic colleges in their respective Jurisdictions. But experience has shown that there is an incongruity between the official labors of a Grand Lodge as the Masonic head of the Order, and the superintendence and support of a college. Hence, these institutions have been very generally discontinued, and the care of providing for the education of indigent children of the Craft has been wisely committed to the subordinate Lodges and other branches of the Masonic Institutions. Brother Thomas Brown, a distinguished Grand Master of Florida, thus expressed the following views on this subject: “We question if the endowment of colleges and large seminaries of learning, under the auspices and patronage of Masonic bodies, be the wisest plan for the accomplishment of the great design, or is in accordance ,with the character and principles of the Fraternity. Such institutions savor more of pageantry than utility; and as large funds, amassed for such purposes, must of necessity be placed under the control and management of comparatively few, it will have a corrupting influence, promote discord, and bring reproach upon the craft. The principles of Freemasonry do not sympathize with speculations in stock and exchange brokerage. such, we fear, will be the evils attendant on such institutions, to say nothing of the questionable right and policy of drawing funds from the subordinate Lodges, which could be appropriated by their proper officers more judiciously, economically, and faithfully to the accomplishment of the same great and desirable object in the true Masonic spirit of charity, which is the bond of peace.” The above summary’ of the situation by Doctor Mackey may be extended to the extent of a few comments on. some of the enterprises of the past in which the Craft was interested for substantially the same benevolent reasons that in these modern days of ours prompt the Brethren to suggest somewhat similar activities. Stephen W. B. Carnemegy, born 1797, died 1892, Grand Master in 1836-8, was the author of a resolution at the Grand Lodge Communication of 1841 to establish a Masonic College in Missouri “for the education of the sons of indigent Masons and others” and this was approved. Subscriptions were reported at the Communication of 1842 as $3,556.25 for sons, and $3,926.25 for daughters, and $185 for the erection of a Masonic Hall. Brother Carnegy was an active force. We find him in attendance at the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1844 and on being invited at 3:30 to make any desired suggestions, he asked aid for the Masonic College then under construction in his State and “a voluntary collection was taken up” (Doings of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, 1800–1900, H. B. Grant). In all likelihood this enthusiasm encouraged the Kentucky Brethren to undertake a Masonic College of their own. The regulations for the Masonic College in Missouri required a preparatory school and a collegiate department, the Faculty to consist of a Professor for each of the following departments: ”On Natural Philosophy and Astronomy,” ”On Mathematics,” “On Mental and Moral Science,” and “Ancient Languages and Literature.” This is some course, even if not a very practicable one, as seen in the eyes of this age. The conditions were : six months’ tuition free, but charges for board; the Grand Lodge to designate the number of students each subordinate Lodge could send free of charge. The College was chartered by. the State. In those days $25 paid the board and washing of a student for a whole Session, and a cord of good wood could be purchased for a dollar.


See Roman Colleges of Artificers


Colleges of Artificers. See Roman Colleges of Artificers.


In Roman jurisprudence, a collegium, or college, expressed the idea of several persons united together in any office or for any common purpose. It required not less than three to constitute a college, according to the Latin law maxim, Tres faciunt collegium, meaning Three make a college, and hence, perhaps, the Masonic rule that not fewer than three Master Masons can form a Lodge.


The Greek custom of exposing the corpse on a bier over night, near the threshold, that all might be convinced of the normal death.


The city of Cologne, on the banks of the Rhine, is memorable in the history of Freemasonry for the connection of its celebrated Cathedral with the labors of the Steinmetzen of Germany, whence it became the seat of one of the most important Lodges of that period. It has been asserted that Albertus Magnus designed the plan, and that he there also altered the Constitution of the Fraternity, and gave it a new code of laws. It is at least clear that in this Cathedral the symbolic principles of Gothic architecture, the distinguishing style of the Traveling Freemasons, were carried out in deeper significance than in any other building of the time. Whether the document known as the Charter of Cologne be authentic or not, and it is fairly well established that it is not, the fact that it is claimed to have emanated from the Lodge of that place, gives to the Cathedral an importance in the views of the Masonic student. The Cathedral of Cologne is one of the most beautiful religious edifices in the world, and the vastest construction of Gothic architecture. The primitive Cathedral, which was consecrated in 873, was burned in 1248. The present one was commenced in 1249, and the work upon it continued until 1509. But during that long period the labors were often interrupted by the sanguinary contests which raged between the city and its archbishops, so that only the choir and the chapels which surrounded it were finished. In the eighteenth century it suffered much from the ignorance of its own canons, who subjected it to unworthy mutilations, and during the French Revolution it was used as a military depot. In 1820, this edifice, ravaged by men and mutilated by time, began to excite serious anxieties for the solidity of its finished portions. The debris of the venerable pile were even about to be overthrown, when archeologic zeal and religious devotion came to the rescue. Societies were formed for its restoration by the aid of permanent subscriptions, which were liberally supplied; and it was resolved to finish the gigantic structure according to the original plans which had been conceived by Gerhard de Saint Trond, the ancient master of the works. The works were renewed under the direction of M. Zwiner. The building is now completed; Seddon says in his Rambles on the Rhine (page 16), “It is without question, one of the most stupendous structures ever conceived.” There is a story, that may be only a tradition, that there was a book written by Albertus Magnus called Liber Constructionum Alberti, which contained the secrets of the Operative Freemasons, and particularly giving directions of how to lay the foundations of cathedrals. Even though these builders had a special treatise on laying the foundations of cathedrals, they had not made provision for inventions which came later. It has been shown that within these modern days the foundations of the Cathedral were being loosened by the constant shaking from the railway trains that now run near, so that they became unsafe and seriously threatened the destruction of this wonderful masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The German Government came to the relief and saved the structure.


this is an interesting Masonic document, originally written in Latin, and purporting to have been issued in 1535. Its history, as given by those who first offered it to the public, and who claim that it is authentic, is as follows: From the year 1519 to 1601, there existed in the city of Amsterdam, in Holland, a Lodge whose name was Het Vredendall, or The Valley of Peace. In the latter year, circumstances caused the Lodge to be closed, but in 1637 it was revived by four of its surviving members, under the name of Frederick’s Vredendall, or Frederick’s Valley of Peace. In this Lodge, at the time of its restoration, there was found a chest, bound with brass and secured by three locks and three seals, which, according to a protocol published on the 29th of January, 1637, contained the following documents:

  1. The original warrant of constitution of the Lodge Het Vredendall, written in the English language.
  2. A roll of all the members of the Lodge from 1519 to 1601.
  3. The original charter given to the Brotherhood at the City of Cologne, and which is now known among Masonic historians as the Charter of Cologne.

It is not known how long these documents remained in possession of the Lodge at Amsterdam. But they were subsequently remitted to the charge of Brother James Van Vasner, Lord of Opdem, whose signature is appended to the last attestation of The Hague register, under the date of the 2d of February, 1638. After his death, they remained among the papers of his family until 1790, when M. Walpenaer, one of his descendants, presented them to Brother Van Boetzelaer, who was then the Grand Master of the Lodges of Holland. Subsequently they fell into the hands of some person whose name is unknown, but who, in 1816, delivered them to Prince Frederick.

There is a story that the Prince received these documents accompanied by a letter, written in a female hand, and signed “C., child of V. J.” In this letter the writer states that she had found the documents among the papers of her father, who had received them from Brother Van Boetzelaer. It is suspected that the authoress of the letter was the daughter of Brother Van Jeylinger, who was the successor of Van Boetzelaer as Grand Master of Holland. Another version of the history states that these documents had long been in the possession of the family of Wassenaer Van Opdem, by a member of which they were presented to Van Boetzelaer, who subsequently gave them to Van Jeylinger, with strict injunctions to preserve them until the restitution of the Orange regency.

The originals are now, or were very lately, deposited in the archives of a Lodge at Namur, on the Meuse ; but copies of the charter were given to the Fraternity under the following circumstances: In the year 1819, Prince Frederick of Nassau, who was then the Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Holland, contemplating a reformation in Freemasonry, addressed a circular on this subject to all the Lodges under his Jurisdiction, for the purpose of enlisting them in behalf of his project, and accompanied this circular with copies of the charter, which he had caused to be taken in facsimile, and also of the register of the Amsterdam Lodge, Valley of Peace, to which Brother Hawkins has already referred as contained in the brass-mounted chest.

A transcript of the charter in the original Latin, with all its errors, was published, in 1818, in the Annales Maçonniques. The document was also presented to the public in a German version, in 1819, by Dr. Fred Heldmann; but his translation has been proved, by Lenning and others, to be exceedingly incorrect. In 1821, Doctor Krause published it in his celebrated work entitled The Three oldest Masonic Documents. It has been frequently published since in a German translation, in whole or in part, but is accessible to the English reader only in Burnes’ Sketch of the History of the Knights Templar, published at London in 1840; in the English translation of Findel’s History of Freemasonry, and in the American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry, where it was published with copious notes by Brother Mackey.

P. J. Schouten, a Dutch writer on the history of Freemasonry, who had undoubtedly seen the original document, describes it as being written on parchment in Masonic cipher, in the Latin language, the characters uninjured by time, and the subscription of the names not in cipher, but in the ordinary cursive character. The Latin is that of the Middle Ages, and is distinguished by many incorrectly spelled words, and frequent grammatical solecisms. Thus, we find bagistri for magistri, trigesimo for tricesimo, ad nostris ordinem for ad nostrum ordinem, etc. Brother Hawkins who prepared this article concluded, that of the authenticity of this document, it is but fair to say that there are well-founded doubts among many Masonic writers. The learned antiquaries of the University of Leyden have testified that the paper on which the register of the Lodge at The Hague is written, is of the same kind that was used in Holland at the commencement of the seventeenth century, which purports to be its date, and that the characters in which it is composed are of the same period. This register, it will be remembered, refers to the Charter of Cologne as existing at that time ; so that if the learned men of Leyden have not been deceived, the fraud—supposing that there is one in the charter-must be more than two centuries old. Doctor Burnes professes to have no faith in the document, and the editors of the Hermes at once declare it to be surreptitious. But the condemnation of Burnes is too sweeping in its character, as it includes with the charter all other German documents on Freemasonry ; and the opinion of the editors of the Hermes must be taken with some grains of allowance, as they were at the time engaged in a controversy with the Grand Master of Holland, and in the defense of the Advanced Degrees, whose claims to antiquity this charter would materially impair. Doctor Oliver, on the other hand, quotes it unreservedly, in his Landmarks, as a historical document worthy of credit; and Reghellini treats it as authentic. In Germany, the Masonic authorities of the highest reputation, such as Heldermann, Morsdorf, Kloss, and many others, have repudiated it as a spurious production, most probably of the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Kloss objects to the document, that customs are referred to in it that were not known in the rituals of initiation until 1731; that the Advanced Degrees were nowhere known until 1725 ; that none of the eighteen copied documents have been found; that the declaimer against Templar Freemasonry was unnecessary in 1535, as no Templar Degrees existed until 1741; that some of the Latin expressions are not such as were likely to have been used; and a few other objections of a similar character. Bobrik, who published, in I840, the Text, Translation, and Examination of the Cologne Document, also advances some strong critical arguments against its authenticity. Summing up the above’ evidence, Brother E. L. Hawkins was convinced that on the whole, the arguments to disprove the genuineness of the charter appear to be very convincing, and are strong enough to throw at least great doubt upon it as being anything else but -a modern forgery. See Mackey’s revised History of Freemasonry (page 780) and Gould’s History of Freemasonry (1, 496), where the question of the authenticity of the document is examined, and it is classed among the doubtful manuscripts.


A Congress which is said to have been convened in 1525, by the most distinguished Freemasons of the time, in the City of Cologne, as the representatives of nineteen Grand Lodges, who are said to have issued the celebrated manifesto, in defense of the character and aims of the Institution, known as the Charter of Cologne. Whether this Congress was ever held is a moot point among Masonic writers, most of them contending that it never was, and that it is simply an invention of the early part of the nineteenth century (see Cologne, Charter of).


A republic in the northwestern part of South America. In 1824 Colonel James Hamilton was appointed by England head of the Masonic Province of Colombia.

The Republic of Colombia consisted at first of New Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela. In 1831, however, all these became independent and in 1861 Colombia was constituted by New Granada.

Concord Lodge, No. 792, was established by England in 1824 but its authority was withdrawn in 1862. A Scotch Lodge, Eastern Star of Colombia, was opened the same year as Concord Lodge.

On June19, 1833, the Grand Orient of New Granada was established at Carthagena and has continued work up till the present day. Towards a Grand Orient founded June 13, 1864, at Bogota for the southern states of the Republic, it maintained, with occasional interruptions, a friendly attitude. A Supreme Council of Colombia had existed at Bogota as early as 1825 but ceased work.

The present Supreme Council was created later. v The Grand Lodge of Colombia was opened on November 30, 1919, with all due ceremony by delegates from the four Lodges, Astrea, No. 56; Siglo XX, No. 61: Libertad, No. 54, and Luz de la Verdad, No. 46, at Barranquilla.

Three other Bodies, the National Grand Lodge of Colombia at Barranquilla, the Most Serene National Grand Lodge of Colombia at Carthagena and the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Colombia, at Carthagena, established in 1918, 1920 and 1922 respectively, are still in existence and all six, according to Brother Oliver Day Street, are more or less independent.


Lodges in the colonies of Great Britain are under the immediate supervision and jurisdiction of District Grand Lodges, to which title the reader is referred.


This organization was instituted at Ha1ifax, North Carolina. December 30, 1912, and comprises in its membership Worshipful Masters and Past Masters of Colonial Lodges. No application on the part of such Brethren was ever to be required but whenever such a Brother shall present himself and pay the fee he is to be initiated without ballot and that no objection shall debar him except for non-affiliation with some Lodge. The first lesson of the Order was to honor the Fathers by perpetuating and building up their Colonial Lodges and not only to glorify the early guardians of Freemasonry on the Continent of America but to -also listen to the call for service, fidelity and faith, and to be pledged to a higher consecration and a more vivid realization of duty.


When Auraria, or Denver as it later came to be called, sprang up in consequence of the discovery of gold in Jefferson Territory, the Brethren in the town applied to the Grand Master of Kansas for a Dispensation to open a Lodge. This was granted on October 1, 1859. While their request for a Charter, granted on October 15, 1862, was being considered by the Grand Lodge of Kansas they resigned the Dispensation from that State and as Denver Lodge accepted one, and in due course received a Charter, December 11, 1861, from the Grand Lodge of Colorado. The Grand Lodge of Colorado was organized by representatives of Golden City Lodge, No. 34; Summit Lodge, No. 7, and Rocky Mountain Lodge, no. 8, who met on August 2, 1861. Brother Eli Carter of Golden City presided over the Convention and Brother Whittemore acted as secretary. A Constitution drawn up by a Committee composed of Brothers J. A. Moore, C. F. Holly, and S. M. Robbins was submitted and approved. John M. Chivington was elected Grand Master and O. A. Whittemore, Grand Secretary. The first Chapter in Colorado was Central City, No. l, in Central City. Its Dispensation, dated March 23, 1863, was granted by the General Grand King. On May 11, 1875, a Convention was held at Denver City by authority of Elbert H. English, the General Grand High Priest, and the Grand Chapter of Colorado was duly established. Companion William II. Byers was the first Grand High Priest, Companion Irving W. Stanton, Deputy Grand High Priest, and Companion Francis E. Everett, Grand Secretary. The General Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters issued a Dispensation to Denver, No. l, at Denver, on January 16, 1892, and a Charter on August 21, 1894. Denver, No. l, with Rocky Mountain, No. 2, and Durango, No. 3, met and organized the Grand Council of Colorado on December 6, 1894.

In the year 1866 a Commandery, namely Colorado, No, l, was established by Dispensation dated January 13. On September 10, two years later, a Charter was granted and it was constituted on January 26, 1869. With Central City, no. 2, and Pueblo, No. 3, Colorado, No. l, organized a Grand Commandery which was opened on March 14, 1876. A Lodge of Perfection, Delta, No. l, was chartered at Denver on January 26, 1877; a Chapter of Rose Croix, Mackey, No. l, on April 11, 1878; a Council of Kadosh, Denver, No, l, on September 3, 1888, and a Consistory, Colorado, No. l, on October 17, 1888.


The secret societies of negroes claiming to be Masonic are quite extensive, embracing Grand Lodges in practically every State (see Negro Masonry).


Wemyss, in his Clavis Symbolica, the Latin meaning Symbolic Key, says: “Color, which is outwardly seen on the habit of the body, is symbolically issued to denote the true state of the person or subject to which it is applied, according to its nature.” This definition may appropriately be borrowed on the present occasion, and applied to the system of Masonic colors. The color of a vestment or of a decoration is never arbitrarily adopted in Freemasonry. Every color is selected with a view to its power in the symbolic alphabet, and it teaches the initiate some instructive moral lesson, or refers to some important historical fact in the system. Frederic Portal, a French archeologist, has written a valuable treatise on the symbolism of colors, under the title of Des Couleurs Symboliques dans l’antiquité, le moyen âge et les temps modernes, meaning Symbolic Colors in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Times, which is well worth the attention of Masonic students.

The Masonic colors are seven in number, namely:

  1. blue
  2. purple
  3. red
  4. white
  5. black
  6. green
  7. yellow
  8. violet (see those respective titles in this Encyclopedia).

About the Church of God as well as the Bodies of Freemasonry has clustered a rich store of symbolism.

Their foundation is the same. Writers through the centuries have found peculiar significance galore in the various features of church construction and adornment. Among these the symbolism of colors has been prominently mentioned. Bishop William Durandus, was born at Puy-moisson in Province about the year 1220 A.D., and died at Rome in 1296.

A book of his dealing freely with symbolism was finished in 1286 and from it we take the following item to illustrate the early ceremonial symbolism of colors:

On festivals, curtains are hung up in churches, for the sake of the ointment they give; and that by visible, we may be led to invisible beauty. These curtains are sometimes tinctured with various hues, as is said afore; so that by the diversity of the colors themselves we may be taught that man, who is the temple of God, should be ordained by the variety and diversity of virtues. A white curtain signifieth pureness of living, a red, charity; a green, contemplation; a black, mortification of the flesh: a livid-colored, tribulation. Besides this, over white curtains are sometimes suspended hangings of various colors: to signify that our hearts ought to be purged from vices: and that in them should be the curtains of virtues, and the hangings of good works. We must not overlook the authorities whose comments on the symbolism of colors are not in complete accord with the findings of Bishop Durandus and with those who have accepted and continued his conclusions. While an exact meaning may not universally have been applied to the individual colors there is found a striking correspondence with several of them.

Anyway, a difference in the symbolic meanings does not destroy or even impair the circumstance that colors have long been and are now freely employed as Symbols. The preface to English Liturgical Colors, by Sir Wm. St. John Hope and E. G. Cuthbert F. Atchley, published in 1918 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, refers to the discussion of the subject in 1860 in the Ecclesiologist (volume xxi, pages 133–i), by a writer over the initials J. C. J, who, after showing the considerable variety of the colors recorded, and that no strict rule for their use was possible, pointed out that

In early times richness of material seems to have been the chief point aimed at: a good deal being left to the fancy and taste of the donors, most of all to the bishops, sacristans, and clergy. This commentator arrives at the following conclusion:

First of all then, it is quite clear that the English did not bind themselves down to the so-Called ecclesiastical colors. By this I do not mean to say that they never had particular colors for particular days, but that they allowed themselves much more liberty than modem Rome allows to her members.

Of the growth of such symbolism and the outcome, Messrs. Hope and Atchley have this to say on page viii:

As soon as churches began to acquire more vestments than a set for everyday use, a second set for Sundays, and a best set for festivals, it was natural that different colors should be appropriated to the various festivals and several classes of saints, and the choice of the color was determined in each country in western Europe by the prevailing ideas of fitness. In point of fact, however, there was a fairly general unanimity in the schemes which developed everywhere outside the Roman diocese, while within that a scheme of another type gradually took shape. No color has any essential and necessary meaning, consequently a “teaching sequence” rests on purely arbitrary conventions.

Durandus and other Writers have explained at length from Holy Writ and elsewhere how ”each hue mysteriously is meant,” but it is perfectly easy to put together quite as plausible a set of reasons for precisely the opposite or any other signification. At the same time it is not to be denied that there are a few quasi-natural symbolical meanings which have obtained for so many centuries that they have now become common ideas of Western Europe. Such are the use of black or dark colors for mourning and sadness, of white as a symbol of purity and innocence, and of bright red for royalty; as well as the ideas connoted by such phrases as “in the blues,” and the like. Medieval writers, as is shown in Essays on Ceremonial, differ widely among themselves in the significance that they attribute to different colors, and no certainty is anywhere to be found.


A round pillar made to support as well as to adorn a building, whose construction varies in the different orders of architecture. In Freemasonry, columns have a symbolic signification as the supports of a Lodge, and are known as the Columns of Misdom, Strength, and Beauty. The broken column is also a symbol in Freemasonry (see the titles Supports of the Lodge and Broken Column).


In Freemasonry the Senior Warden’s Column represents the pillar Jachin while the Junior Warden’s Column represents the pillar Boaz. The Senior Warden’s Column is in an erect position and the Junior Warden’s placed horizontally during labor, these positions being reversed during refreshment.


It has long been a theory of some writers, secular and Masonic, that there was a direct succession of the Operative Gilds from the Roman Colleges to those who merged into Speculative Freemasonry in 1717, and as investigation proceeded, the proofs became stronger and stronger until now it can no longer reasonably be doubted.

At first it was not attempted to prove the succession it was only inferred, but recently more careful investigators have come to view, whose results go far in establishing the direct succession from Roman Colleges to speculative Freemasonry.

The principal purpose of this article is to put a link in the chain of Operative Gilds and establish a continuous connection from the oldest Gild formation, that of the Roman Colleges, which see, through the Lombard period and Renaissance to the formation of Speculative Freemasonry by the English Gilds.

Before beginning the description of the Comacine Masters, which, from the controversial character of the subject, must of necessity be kindred to a discussion resting heavily on citations and quoted authorities who have worked in this special field, it will be necessary to draw a fair picture of the Roman possessions and civilization at this period.

When Rome had passed the zenith of her power and had begun to decline from internal and external causes, it is but natural to suppose that her neighboring enemies noticed this, and as they had long looked upon Italy with avaricious eyes, felt the time had arrived for them to attain what they had most desired. The year 476 A.D.,when the last of the nominal Caesars ceased to rule in the West, is usually taken by historians as marking the fall of the Roman Empire.

However true that may be, the falling began when Constantine established the seat of his empire at Constantinople, in 327, and drew much strength from Rome, thereby making it easier for the Vandals and Goths to renew their attacks.
For five centuries horde after horde of barbarians flung themselves against the Roman frontiers, each striking deeper than the last, and being repelled with greater and greater difficulty, the Empire sinking beneath internal decay more than from her external enemies.

When the Western Empire ceased in the fifth century and Europe was plunged into what has been called The Dark Ages and all progress in letters and the arts of peace is supposed to have ceased, it is refreshing to quote what John Fiske said in Old and New Ways of Treating History, when speaking of that period: “In truth the dull ages which no Homer has sung or Tacitus described, have sometimes been critical ages for human progress. . . . This restriction of the views to literary ages has had much to do with the popular misconception of the 1,000 years that elapsed between the reign of Theodoric the Great and the Discovery of America.

For many reasons that period might be called the Middle Ages ; but the popular mind is apt to lump these ten centuries together, as if they were all alike, and apply to them the misleading epithet Dark Ages. A portion of the darkness is in the minds of those who use the epithet.

Brother E. E. Cauthorne who wrote this article says he also wishes to take exception to their position and conclusions, for in the success of these exceptions lies the potency and possibility of the subject, the Comacine Masters, who lived and built at this period, having descended from branches of the Roman Colleges of Artificers who had come to Como as colonists or had fled to this free republic for safety during barbaric invasions, creating and developing what is called Lombard architecture, and forming a powerful gild which later not only influenced, but had a connection with the gilds of France and Germany at the Renaissance, thereby establishing a direct line of descent of Roman Colleges to the Operative Gilds that grew into speculative Freemasonry.

It can be understood how a tribe or a small section of people may, from various causes, recede in letters, science and civilization, but how the world could do so is difficult to, comprehend, yet the historians and literature attempted to confirm this in describing the “gloom when the sun of progress was in a total or partial eclipse from the fifth to the twelfth centuries,” or, between the period of ancient Classic Art of Rome and that early rise of Art in the twelfth century, which led to the Renaissance. Leader Scott says that “this hiatus is supposed to be a time when Art was utterly dead and buried, its corpse in Byzantine dress lying embalmed in its tomb at Ravenna. But all death is nothing but the germ of new life. Art was not a corpse ; it was only a seed laid in Italian soil to germinate and it bore several plants before the great deflowering period of the Renaissance.

Those who produced these several plants which it bore before the great Cathedral Building period that followed the Renaissance, will furnish the subject of this article, and trust it will be as interesting and important to the Masonic student as it is new in the literature of Freemasonry. Most things will become more and more clear as we follow up the traces of the Comacine Gild from the chrysalis state, in which Roman Art hibernated during the dark winter of the usually called Dark Ages, as Scott says “through the grub state of the Lombard period to the glorious winged flight of the full Gothic of the Renaissance.” Many historians, Masonic and profane, who wrote as long as a generation ago, are inclined to give the impression that there was but little or nothing that transpired during the so-called Dark Ages which was essential to the world’s progress’ at the time, or worthy of contemplation at present.

Had their views of the importance of historical matter prevailed, we would now know very little of what transpired from the Fall of the Western part of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. We know that many cities in Italy were rebuilt after they had been sacked and partly destroyed by the Goths and Huns. Many cathedrals were built during this period, some of which work lasts till today, and is worthy workmanship. The historical architects have approached this period from another angle and the results of their efforts now make this article possible and open up a new and important field for Masonic students.

Toward the end of the fifth century a new wave of barbaric invasions swept over the West. North and East Gaul-all not previously held by the Visigoths fell into the hands of the Franks in 486 A. D. Theodoric and the Ostrogoths wrested Italy from Odoacer and established the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy, with its capital at Ravenna. This kingdom was established and governed on exceptionally enlightened lines.

Theodoric, often called The Great, was the most broad-minded and advanced of all the German conquerors.

He was a man of culture, yet some have said that he could not read. He had been educated from his eighth to his eighteenth year at Constantinople. His rule was, therefore, more like the revival of Roman ideas than a barbarous conquest.

Accordingly we need not be surprised to find him decorating his capital city, Ravenna, during the period of his occupation, 493-526, A.D., with a series of monuments which, although strongly tinctured with Byzantine fluence, yet constitute, perhaps, the finest examples we possess of the early Christian style.

Theodoric was an Aryan and opposed to the Bishop of Rome.

This fact and his education at Constantinople are sufficient to explain the strong Byzantine elements so noticeable even in those monuments at Ravenna, which antedate the Byzantine conquest. Charles A. Cummings in his History of architecture in Italy says: “One of the earliest acts of Theodoric after his accession to the throne was the appointment of an architect to have charge of all the public buildings-including the aqueducts and the city walls-of Ravenna and Rome, putting at his disposal for this purpose, yearly, twelve hundred pounds of gold, two hundred and fifty thousand bricks, and the income of the Lucrine Haven. A remarkable letter from Theodoric to this official on his appointment is preserved by Cassiodorus, who was the minister of the Empire. ‘These excellent buildings,’ he says, ‘are my delight. They are the noble image of the power of the Empire, and bear witness to its grandeur and glory. The palace of the sovereign is shown to ambassadors as a monument worthy of their admiration, and seems to declare to them his greatness. It is then a great pleasure for an enlightened prince to inhabit a palace where all the perfections of art are united, and to find there relaxation from the burden of public affairs. . . . I give you notice that your intelligence and talents have determined me to confide to your hands the care of my palace. It is my wish that you preserve in its original splendor all which is ancient, and that whatever you add to it may be comfortable to it in style. It is not a work of small importance which I place in your hands, since it will be your duty to fulfill by your art the lively desire which I feel to illustrate my reign by many new edifices; so that whether the matter in hand be the rebuilding of a city, the construction of new castles, or the building of a Pretorium, it will be for you to translate my projects into accomplished realities.

And this is a service highly honorable and worthy of any man’s ambition:-to leave to future ages the monuments which shall be the admiration of new generations of men. It will be your duty to direct the mason, the sculptor, the painter, the worker in stone, in bronze, in plaster, in mosaic. What they know not, you will teach them. The difficulties which they find in their work, you will solve for them.

But behold what various knowledge you must possess, thus to instruct artificers of so many sorts. But … you can direct their work to a good and satisfactory end, their success will be your eulogy, and will form the most abundant and flattering reward you could desire.'” From this it may be seen that an architect of those days was a complete Master of the art of building.

He was required to be able to construct a building from foundation to roof and also to be able to decorate it with sculpture and painting, mosaics and bronzes.

This broad education prevailed in all the schools or Lodges up to 1335, when the painters seceded, which was followed by other branches separating themselves into distinct gilds. It is a well-known fact that when the barbarians were sacking and carrying away the riches of many Italian cities and particularly of Rome, people fled to more secure places for the better protection of their lives and property. Of the various places to which they fled only one interests us in this article. Como was a free republic and many fled there for the protection it afforded. Rome had previously colonized many thousands in Como before the Christian Era (see Como). The first we hear of the Comacines was that they were living on an island called Isola Comacina in Lake Como, that most beautiful of lakes. They were so well fortified that it was years before the island was captured and then only by treachery. Their fortifications and buildings were similar to those built by the Colleges of Artificers at Rome, which gave rise to the belief that they were the direct descendants from these Roman builders, who had built for the Roman Empire for several centuries.

In offering the form of building as best evidence of the descent of the Comacines from the Roman Colleges, it is appreciated how recorded literature, which is usually the word and opinions of one person, can be biased, changed and often wrong. But all who have studied a people in their social, political or religious aspects, know how permanent these things are and how subject to slow changes.

Their forms of dress, songs, folklore and language undergo changes but slowly, climate, unsuccessful wars and amalgamation proving the most disastrous. But probably none of these change so slowly as forms of building, unless the latter be subjected to a marked change of climate from migration. Architecture is one of the noblest and most useful of arts and one of the first to attract the attention of barbarous people when evolution into higher civilization, and is at all times an accurate measure of a people’s standing in civilization.

A law we learn from biology in the morphology of animals is, that nature never makes a new organ when she can modify an old one so as to perform the required functions. New styles of architecture do not spring from human intellect as creations. Cattaneo says: “Monuments left by a people are truer than documents, which often prove fallacious and mislead and prove no profit for those who blindly follow them.

The story of a people or a nation, if not known by writings, might be guessed through its monuments and works of art.”

The Lombards, who had come from northern Germany and settled in northern Italy in 568 A.D., at once began to develop along many lines which made Lombardy known all over Europe—the result of which influence Europe feels today. They developed along lines which in our everyday parlance may be called business. They were not primarily architects or builders and they employed the Comacines for this kind of work and it was the Comacines who developed what is known today as Lombard architecture, covering a period that we may roughly put as from the seventh century to the Renaissance.

The first to draw attention to the name Magistri Comacini was the erudite Muratori, that searcher out of ancient manuscripts, who unearthed from the archives an edict, dated November 22, 643 A.D., signed by Rotharis, in which are included two clauses treating of the Magistri Comacini and their colleagues The two clauses, Nos. 143 and 144, out of the 386 inscribed in cribbed Latin, says Leader Scott, are, when anglicized, m the following intent:

Art. 143. Of the Magister Comacinus. If the Comacine Master with his colleagues shall have contracted to restore or build a house of any person whatsoever, the contract for payment being made, and it chances that someone shall die by the fall of the said house, or any material or stone from it, the owner of said house shall not be cited by the Master Comacinus or his Brethren to compensate them for homicide or injury; because having for their own gain contracted for the payment of the building, they just sustain the risk and injuries thereof.

Art. 144. of the engaging and hiring of Magistri. If any person has engaged or hired one or more of the Comacine Masters to design a work, or to daily assist his workmen in building a palace or a house, and it shall happen by reason of the house some Comacine shall be killed, the owner of the house is not considered responsible; but if a pole or stone shall injure some extraneous person, the Master builder shall not bear the blame, but the person who hired him shall make compensation.

Charles A. Cummings says: “The code of Luitprand, eighty years later, contains further provisions regulating the practice of Comacini, which had now become much more Ilumerous and important. Fixed rates of payment were established for their services, varying according to the kind of building on which they were engaged; definite prices being allowed for walls of various thicknesses, for arches and vaults, for chimneys, plastering and joiners’ work. The difficulty which these early builders found in the construction of vaults is indicated by the allowance of a charge per superficial foot, from fifteen to eighteen times as great as in the case of a wall. The price of provisions and wine furnished to the workmen is also determined and is counted as part of their pay.”
Scott maintains that “these laws prove that in the seventh century the Magistri Comacini were a compact and powerful gild, capable of asserting their rights, and that the gild was properly organized, having degrees of different ranks; that the higher orders were entitled Magistri, and could ‘design’ or ‘undertake’ a work; that is, act as architects ; and that the colligate or colleagues worked under, or with, them. In fact, a powerful organization altogether so powerful and so solid that it spoke of a very ancient foundation. Was it a surviving branch of a Roman Collegium? Or a decadent group of Byzantine artists stranded in Italy?”

Professor Merzario says: “In this darkness which extended all over Italy, only one small lamp remained alight, making a bright spark in the vast Italian metropolis. It was from the Magistri Comacini. Their respective names are unknown, their individual work unspecialized, but the breath of their spirit might be felt all through those centuries and their names collectively is legion. We may safely say that of all the works of art between 800 and 1000 A.D., the greater and better part are due to that brotherhood-always faithful and often secret-of the Magistri Comacini. The authority and judgment of learned men .justify the assertion.”

Quaternal de Quincy, in his Dictionary of Architecture, under the heading Comacines, remarks that “to these men who were both designers and executors, architects, sculptors and mosaicists, may be attributed the Renaissance of art and its propagation in the southern countries, where it marched with Christianity.

Certain it is that we owe to them that the heritage of antique ages was not entirely lost, and it is only by their tradition and imitation that the art of building was kept alive, producing works which we still admire and which become surprising when we think of the utter ignorance of all science in those Dark Ages.”

Hope, in his well-balanced style, draws quite a picture of the gilds at this period which, upon the whole, is fairly accurate. He says: “When Rome, the Eternal City, was first abandoned for Milan, Ravenna and other cities in the more fertile North, which became seats of new courts and the capitals of new kingdoms, we find in northern Italy a rude and barbarous nation-the Lombards-in the space of two short centuries, producing in trade, in legislation, in finance, in industry of every description, new developments so great, that from them, and from the regions to which they attach their names, has issued the whole of that ingenious and complex system of bills of exchange, banks, insurance, double sentry bookkeeping, commercial and marine laws and public loans, since adopted all over Europe—all over Europe retaining, in their peculiar appellations the trace and landmarks of their origin-and all over Europe affording to capital and commerce an case of captivity and a security unknown before.

“To keep pace with this progress, kings, lesser lords and the municipalities that by degrees arose, were induced, at one time from motives of public policy, at others, of private advantage, to encourage artificers of different professions. Thus of their own accord, they granted licenses to form associations possessed of the exclusive privilege of exercising their peculiar trades, and making them an object of profit; of requiring that youths anxious to be associated with their body, and ultimately to be endowed with the mastery of the profession, should submit to a fixed and often severe course of study, under the name of apprenticeship, for their master’s profit, and in addition should frequently be compelled to pay a considerable premium; and of preventing any individual not thus admitted into their body, from establishing a competition against them. These associations were called Corporations or Gilds.

“These Bodies in order to enjoy exclusive exercise of their profession, and that its profits should be secure to them, not only by law, but by the inability of others to violate it, by degrees made their business, or craft, as they called it, a profound mystery from the world at large, and only suffered their own apprentices to be initiated in its higher branches and improvements, most gradually; and in every place where a variety of paths of industry and art were struck out, these crafts, these corporations, these masterships and these mysteries became so universally prevalent, that not only the arts of a wholly mechanical nature, but even those of the most exalted and intellectual nature—those which in ancient times had been considered the exclusive privilege of freemen and citizens, and those dignified with the name liberal-were submitted to all those narrow rules of corporations and connected with all the servile offices of apprenticeship.” While Hope and writers of his time recognized that some well-organized body of workers had dominated the building trades at the Lombard period of history, they never attempted to trace their genealogy. Later historical critics of architecture have given some attention to origin and succession of these building crafts. One of the latest Italian students, Rivoiri, has devoted a separate chapter to the Comacine Masters.

As his extensive work on Lombard Architecture, Its Origin, Development and Derivatives may be accessible to but few, we shall give a generous quotation from him for the importance of his sound conclusions:

“The origin of the Comacine Masters in the diocese of Como is explained quite naturally, according to De Dartein, Merzario, and others, by the custom, which has always existed among the craftsmen and workmen of that region, of leaving their native places in order to betake themselves in gangs wherever building works are about to be or have been begun, urged thereto by their barren mountain soil, pecuniary gain, their innate ability and enterprising character.

Another explanation is to be found in the presence on the shores of the lakes of Como, Lugano and the Maggiore, of numerous stones, marble and timber yards which furnished building material for the cities of the plains. These yards gave scope for the practice of the crafts of carver, carpenter, builder, etc. ; and these, in their turn, by constant practice and continuous progress, ultimately developed architects and sculptors.

“And here we may naturally feel surprise at the appearance, amid the darkness of the early centuries of the Middle Ages, of a corporation of craftsmen who, though of Roman origin, none the less enjoyed Lombard citizenship and the rights belonging to it; while the Roman or Italian subjects of Lombard rule were, if not slaves, nothing better than ‘aldi,’ that is to say, midway between freedmen and serfs, manumitted on the condition of performing the manual tasks assigned them by the manumitter, A corporation, too, which had a legal monopoly of public and private building work within the territories occupied by the Lombards, as the code of Rotharis proves, and can claim the honor of filling up the gap which for so long was believed, especially by non-Italian writers, to exist between the incorporated artisans of the Roman epoch, supposed to have vanished with the fall of the Empire, and the gilds of craftsmen which sprang up so luxuriantly in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

Such surprise, however, may easily be allayed if we consider that in reality the fraternity of craftsmen, in Italy at least, by no means came to an end with the barbarian invasions, and particularly that of the Lombards, who actually preserved those Roman institutions which best fulfilled their aim of keeping the conquered people in subjection. Accordingly, they would have maintained the corporation of artisans in order to make the exaction of tribute easier, and at the same time to be able to keep a hold over the individuals composing them.

“Hence we have good grounds for inferring that the corporation of ‘Comacini,’ who apparently were neither more nor less than the successors of the Master Masons who in the days of the Empire had directed the operations of the collegia specially devoted to building, survived the barbarian invasions which were so disastrous to Italy in the centuries preceding , the accession of Rotharis to the Lombard throne.

This view is confirmed by the undoubted fact that from this time onwards the ‘Comacini’ formed a very important Gild, as is shown by the need which he felt of making regulations for it in his laws. This Gild cannot have sprung into existence full grown, and, as it were, by magic, just when the Code of Rotharis made its appearance in 643 A. D. It must have already been in existence and have attained some degree of importance well before Alboin’s descent on Italy in 568 A.D. Troya, in fact, remarks that when the Lombards of the time of Autharis in 583-590 A.D., and of Agilulf and Theodelinda from 590–625 A.D., wanted to erect buildings, they must have made use of it ; and that everything leads one to think that before the promulgation of the Code of Rotharis, some of the members, those of the highest capacity and reputation had already been enfranchised by ‘impans’ or express grace of the King. However that may be, the mention of the associations of Comacini in the reign of Rotharis and Luitprand is one of the earliest in the barbarian world, and earlier than that of any Gild of architects or builders belonging to the Middle Ages. . . . Whatever may have been the organization of the Comacine or Lombard Gilds, and however these may have been affected by outward events, they did not cease to exist in consequence of the fall of the Lombard kingdom. With the first breath of municipal freedom, and with the rise of the new brotherhoods of artisans, they, too, perhaps, may have reformed themselves like the latter, who were nothing but the continuation of the ‘collegium’ of Roman times preserving its existence through the barbarian ages, and transformed little by little into the mediaeval corporation. The members may have found themselves constrained to enter into a more perfect unity of thought and sentiment, to bind themselves into a more compact body, and thus put themselves in a condition to maintain their ancient supremacy in carrying out the most important building works in Italy. But we cannot say anything more.

And even putting aside all tradition, the monuments themselves are there to confirm what we have said.

“Finally, toward the end of the eleventh century, the Comacine brotherhoods began to relax their bonds of union, to make room gradually for personality, and for artistic and scientific individuality, till at length they vanish at the close of the fifteenth century, with the disappearance of the Lombardic style which they had created, and the rise of the architecture of the Renaissance.” Leader Scott has reasonably inferred: ”

  1. That the architects of the same Gild worked at Rome and in Ravenna in the early centuries after Christ.
  2. That though the architects were Roman, the decorations up to the fourth century were chiefly Byzantine, or had imbibed that style, as their paintings show.
  3. That in the time when Rome lay in a heap of ruins under the barbarians, the Collegium, or a Collegium, I know not which, fled to independent Como, and there, in after centuries they were employed by the Lombards, and ended in again becoming a powerful Gild.”

There was the greatest similarity in form of the cathedrals of this period and when changes were introduced they became general thereby creating a unity of purpose and an interchange of ideas, which spoke the existence of some kind of Gild or fraternity with a perfected organization. That the Comacines received ideas which somewhat influenced their building art is probably true, particularly their decorations.

On the latter question Muller in his Archaeology der Kunst says: “From constantinople as a center of mechanical skill, a knowledge of art radiated to distant countries, and corporations of builders of Grecian birth were permitted to exercise a judicial government among themselves, according to the laws of the country to which they owed allegiance.”

This was the age when more symbolism was made use of than at any other period, the reason being that the Christian religion having so lately supplanted Paganism, and as most converts could not read, the Bible was spread over the front of the cathedrals in the form of sculptured saints, animals, and symbolic figures. Hope says: “Pictures can always be read by all people and when symbolic uses are made and once explained will be ever after understood.”

The Eastern branch of the Church at Constantinople prohibited imagery and other forms of adornment of their churches, and like disputants, when one denies, the other affirms, the Western branch of Rome espoused the carving of images and beautiful sculpture.

This caused the Eastern sculptors to come to Italy, where they were welcomed by the Roman branch of the Church. That policy of the Roman branch was carried throughout the cathedral building period that followed in Europe for several centuries and to this day is a dominant element with them, for they still believe that properly to spread their religion, noble architecture, fine sculpturing and painting, and inspiring music are prime requisites. We Speculative Freemasons should give full credit to the Roman Catholic Church for employing and fostering our Operative Brethren through many centuries and making possible Speculative Freemasonry of today, even though the Church is now our avowed enemy.

Combining some arguments that have been reasonably put forward for the maintenance of this theory, and adding others, it may be pointed out that the identical form of Lodges in different cities is a strong argument that the same ruling Body governed them all. An argument equally strong is the ubiquity of the members. We find the same men employed in one Lodge after another, as work required. Not only were these changes or migrations from one cathedral to another accomplished in Italy, but we have many examples of Masters and special workmen going into France, Germany, and other countries. Unfortunately no documents exist of the early Lombard times, but the archives of the Opera, which in most cities have been faithfully kept since the thirteenth century, would, if thoroughly examined, prove to be valuable stores from which to draw a history of the Masonic Gild. They have only begun to examine carefully these records, and when completed we may reasonably expect to learn much concerning this period. Leader Scott has examined several and gives continuous lists of Masters of the School or Lodge in different cities. In Sienese School, a list of sixty-seven Masters in continuous succession from 1259-1423; at Florence Lodge, seventy-eight Masters from 1258– 1418; at Milan Lodge; seventy-nine Masters from 1387 – 647. She, for Leader Scott was a woman, whose real name was Mrs. Luey Baxter, gives headings of laws for these Lodges, and it may be interesting to glance over the headings of statutes of these Masonic Gilds, which will throw light on all the organizations. The Sienese Gild is a typical one. There are forty-one chapters, but the headings of only twelve will be selected:

  • C. 1. One who curses God or the Saints. A fine of 25 lira.
  • C. 2. One who opposes the Signora of city. A fine of 25 lira.
  • C. 5. How to treat underlings (sottoposti or apprentices).
  • C. 11. That no one take work from another Master.
  • C. 13. How the feast of the Four Holy Martyrs is to be kept. Feast of the Dead, November Two half-pound candles and offering ; grand fête of the Gild in June.
  • C.16. The camerlingo shall hand all receipts to Grand Master.
  • C.19. One who is sworn to another Gild cannot be either Grand Master or camerlingo.
  • C.22. How members are to be buried.
  • C.23. How to insure against risks.
  • C.24. No argument or business discussion to be held in public streets.
  • C.30. That no Master shall undertake a second work till the first has been paid.
  • C.34. On those who lie against others.

These statutes are very fair and well composed and must certainly have been made from long experience in the Gild.

The genealogy of the styles of architecture has baffled many. Leader Scott believes this to be the line of descent: First, the Comacines continued Roman traditions, as the Romans continued Etruscan ones; next, they orientalized their style by their connection with the East through Aquileia, and the influx of the Greek exiles into the Gild. Later came a different influence through the Saracens into the South, and the Italian-Gothic was born. In the old times (sixth to the tenth centuries) before the painters and sculptors, and after them the metal workers, split off and formed companies of their own, every kind of decoration was practiced by the Masters, as the letter of Theodoric plainly shows. A church was not complete unless it was adorned in its whole height and breadth with sculpture on the outside, mosaics or paintings on the inside, and in its completeness formed the peoples’ Bible and dogma of religious belief, and this from the very early times of Constantine and his Byzantine mosaicists, and of Queen Theolinda and her fresco-painters, up to the revival of mosaics by the Cosmati and the fresco-painting in the Tuscan schools, but never were these arts entirely lost.

For the first, we have the identity of form and ornamentation in their works and the similarity of nomenelature and organization between the Roman Collegio and the Lombard Gild of Magistri. Besides this, the well-known fact that the free republic of como was used as a refuge by Romans who fled from barbaric invasions makes a strong argument. For the second, we may plead again the same identity of form and organization and a like similarity of ornamentation and nomenclature. Just as King Luitprand’s architects were called Magistri, and the Grand Master the Gadtaldo, so we have the great architectural Gilds in Venice, in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, using the very same titles and having the very same laws. Again the hereditary descent is marked by the patron saints of the Lombard and Tuscan Lodges, being the Four Martyr Brethren from a Roman Collegio (see four Crowned Martyrs). All these and other indications are surely as strong as documental proof, and are practically the summary of the conclusions of Leader Scott and are not overdrawn, being amply home out by facts already known.

Older writers recognized the presence of a compact gild in the work, but did not connect them with the builders of the Renaissance. More recent writers, such as Rivoira, Porter, and others declare the connection. This connection is probably without the field of historical architects, whose work is the study of the product of the workmen, and not the workmen themselves, while our interest is centered on the workmen and their relations to those who follow them in connected sequence, and not on the product of their work, further than to show and prove relationships of the building crafts.

There are many most interesting and important things pertaining to the Conacines that must be omitted in a cyclopedia article. Their rich, varied, and curious symbolism, which even Ruskin failed to understand, would furnish matter for a fair-sized volume.

While it is recognized that history should always be written from as nearly original sources as is possible it has not been realized in this instance, as Brother Cauthome had to rely solely on those who have made their investigations at first-hand, and while some liberties have been taken, no violence has been done to their conclusions.

The reader will find a rich field in the following bibliography: The Cathedral Builders, The Story of a Great Masonic Guild, by Leader Scott. The Comacines, Their Predecessors and their Successors, by W. Ravencroft. Lombard Architecture, Its Origin, Development and Derivatives, by G. T. Rivoira. A History of Architecture in Italy, from the Time of Constantine to the Dawn of the Renaissance, by Charles A. Cummings. Medieval Architecture, by A. K. Porter.

Architecture in Italy from the Sixth to the Eleventh Century, Historical and Critical Researches, by Raflaele Cattaneo. Historical Essay on Architecture, by Thomas Hope. These are English works or have been translated into English. From them an extensive bibliography embracing other languages will be found.


The article on Comacine Masters beginning on page 221 sets forth fairly and adequately the arguments in favor of the theory that the Magistri Comacimi were a school, or Compactly organized Brotherhood of Master Masons with a center and training school on Lake Como ; that this Comacine Brotherhood was the founder of Freemasonry, and that an unbroken continuity exists between it and the English Lodges out of which modern speculative Freemasonry arose. Mrs. Webster, writing under the name of Leader Scott, constructed this theory and published it in her Cathedral Builders, a work earnestly and competently written, supported by a wide knowledge of the literature; printed, bound, and illustrated magnificently.

Bro. Joseph Fort Newton epitomized the argument of her book in one chapter of his The Builders, and gave it a wide circulation because his book, “the Blue Lodge classic,” had a large reading among American Masons. Bro. W. R. Rafenscroft followed this with two small books in which he restated or rehearsed Leader Scott’s arguments with an audience of English Masons in mind (though he published much of his material in The Builder, Journal of the National Masonic Research Society). With this presentation, so rapidly successful, and accompanied as it was by innumerable speeches in Lodge Rooms and articles in the Masonic press throughout English-speaking Freemasonry, the Comacine Theory ceased to be a tentative and exploratory hypothesis constructed by one woman, and became a subject or discussion by the whole Fraternity.

One of the extraordinary features of this Masonry wide presentation and of the almost enthusiastic popularizing of it was the failure of both the proponents of the argument and of the popularizers of it to see that they were asking the Fraternity to abandon wholly, and at one stroke, the great structure of Masonic history which had been built up slowly and laboriously from 1870 to 1920 by some two hundred or so of the most learned scholars the Craft had or possibly ever can have. Beginning in the 1860’s and 1870’s Gould, Findel, Fort, Hughan, Crawley, Speth, Sadler, Lane, Lyon, the Rylands, E. H. Dring, etc., etc., had patiently pieced together evidences to show that Speculative Freemasonry had begun in England, that it was initiated by four or five Lodges in London out of some hundreds of Time Immemorial Lodges in England, Scotland and Ireland which had been at work during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century ; and that these in turn were the descendants of Lodges of Operative Freemasons of which the history was very old, dating at least from the Twelfth Century.

They knew that Operative Freemasonry in general, as the art of architecture, was flourishing during those years throughout Europe, but they could find no traces on the Continent of that particular and almost singular special development among Operative Freemasons which gave rise to modern Speculative Freemasonry, general Operative Freemasonry had been as much European as British, but speculative Freemasonry from its first small beginnings was English; and it was from England that it went across to the Continent in the 1720’s. If Leader Scott’s argument had been sound, if Speculative Freemasonry had originated not in England (as each copy of the Old Charges clearly showed) but had been founded and propagated by a school of Operative Masons at Lake Como in Italy, then Gould’s History, Mackey’s History, the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, and the body of English and American scholarship had made a vast, fatal, wholesale mistake, and the whole work would have to be done over again de novo.

l. There is nothing in the cathedrals, and other structures designed, constructed, and ornamented by the Medieval English Freemasons nor anything in the MSS., traditions, customs, rites, or symbols, or in the records of the oldest Lodges, which anywhere mentions the Comacine Masters, or looks backward toward Italy; nor were the truths, ideas, symbols which were perpetuated by the Time Immemorial Lodges such as could have originated in Medieval northern Italy; they bear on them everywhere the stamp of England.

Around and behind early Medieval Freemasonry in England lay the European milieu, the long history of the Continent, and the traditions of Antiquity, of early Christianity, and the Bible; but the elements drawn from this enveloping background which appear in the first forms of Speculative Freemasonry were demonstrably never drawn at first hand, not even from the Bible, but were mediated to the Craft through the reports, and rumors, and traditions of such things as they had come to England. Moreover, the genius of Medieval Operative Freemasonry was that of the Gothic architecture ; whereas in Italy, and including Como, the Gothic was only half accepted, and was mixed with elements of alien styles imported from Greece and the Arabs (via Sicily).

2. Leader Scott defines the phrase Magistri Comacini as meaning Masters of Como; she then employs this word itself as a principal support of her argument, and takes it that wherever Magistri Comacini appears in the records it refers to the school at Como. Since the phrase appears first in the Fifth Century, and was in wide use in following centuries, and hence was in use many centuries before there was any architecture or architects at Lake Como, Magislri Comacini is not Masters of “Como” etymologically. In the Low Latin in use at the period of which Leader Scott writes co-macioncs, frequently used, meant brothers, or gilds, of Masons, and hence could be applied to Masons anywhere; and Rivoira so applies it in the work referred to by Bro. Cauthorne in his paragraphs at page 221 of this Encyclopedia. Thus the Masons at any Italian center, at Florence, Pisa, Genoa, Venice, Rome, often were called como magistri. Moreover, Leader Scott takes it, or so to a reader it appears, that a schola was a school; in the Low Latin just mentioned schola was a gild.

3. Although she did not appear to note it herself, Leader Scott constructs not one Comacine Theory but two:

a) She attempts to show that the “school at Como” was the center from which the whole Lombardic style had originated and been directed This theory cannot be sustained on historical grounds. Moreover, it repeats a fallacy which characterizes European theories about Freemasonry of both its origin and its present organization: viz, that it had (and has) some one center of control, and that this alone explains why it maintained its unity (and still does) everywhere, and from age to age. Medieval Freemasonry (as now) never had a center but maintained its unity by its modes of recognition, the movement of workers from one place to another, the prevalence of a single architectural style, and-above other means-by its training of apprentices, each of whom received his knowledge of the art and his practices of the Fraternity from a Master Mason who in turn had received the same from his own inlender, and so on backwards. b) Leader Scott’s second Comacine Theory was that modern Speculative Freemasonry originated in her hypothetical school at Como. Rivoira says that this theory was not original with her, but was picked up by her from an Italian book which had never carried weight with Italian scholars; he himself dismisses the theory as not worth detailed investigation.

NOTE. In private correspondence Bro. Lionel Vibert, and writing as Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, stated that he had dismissed the Comacine Theory after finding that Leader Scott had misused the name Magistri Comacini, a keystone in her arch ; Bro. Ravenscroft Wrote not long before his death that he wished he could recall his two brochures because he had “come to see that the Comacine Theory was without foundation.”

In addition to books mentioned above see : Medieval Architecture, by Arthur Kingsley Porter: vol. I, page 134. The Calhedral Builders, by Leader Scott, was published by Sampson, Low, Marston & Co.; London ; 80 illustrations; 435 pages. Lombardic Architecture, by G. T. Rivoira; two volumes. The Gilds of Florence, by Edgcumbe Staley; Methuen & Co.; London; 1906 ; 622 pages. (He has an interesting note about the Masons at Lincoln, England, as having had a social and religious Fraternity in 1313.) Arl and The Re-formation, by G. G. Coulton; ch. X. Medieval Italy, by H. B. Cotterill; Geo. C. Harrap; 1915. The Renaissance of The Twelfth Century, by Charles Homer Haskins, Harvard University Press; 1928. Medieval Europe, by Lynn Thorndike; Geo. C. Harrap & Co.; London; 1920. A History of Freemasonry, by H. L. Haywood and James E. Craig.


Contrary to a popular misunderstanding etymologists do not derive comity from such roots as co or com (as in cooperation and committee) but from an old and little used Latin word for friendliness, the means of friendliness, friendly relations.

The word belongs to the technical nomenclature of Freemasonry, and is one of the subjects in Masonic jurisprudence. It is the name for that set of means by which Masonic local bodies and Masonic Grand Bodies work in friendly co-operation with each other, within and among the recognized Rites. Comity is in two major divisions:

Internal, by which Lodges cooperate with each other and with their Grand Lodge (or Chapters, Councils, etc.) within the same Grand Jurisdiction; External, the means by which Grand Lodges (Grand Chapters, Grand Councils, etc.) cooperate with other Grand Lodges, either at home or abroad.


The means employed are in part departments or offices of Lodges and Grand Lodges, in part are voluntary activities initiated, encouraged, or sponsored by Lodges and Grand Lodges. Among these are : District Deputy systems; District Grand Lecturer Systems; Masonic periodicals; group or area assemblies of Lodges; “service committees” or departments for Masonic education, employment, and speakers bureaus, etc. The reception of visitors, the visiting of one Lodge by another, conferring of Degrees by courtesy, the right of demission (or dimission) are among the means of internal comity provided for in the Ancient Landmarks.


The complete system of External Comity is as yet in the making; thus far such methods as the following have been adopted .by each and every Grand Lodge or by a group of them: Official recognition of one Grand Lodge by another. The exchange of Grand Representatives. Foreign (or Fraternal) Correspondence Reports in Grand Lodge Proceedings. The visiting of a Grand Lodge by official representatives of another. Correspondence among Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries. Annual Conferences by Grand Masters, and by Grand Secretaries. Conferring of Courtesy Degrees. Demission or visiting from one Grand Jurisdiction to another. The Masonic Service Association, and similar voluntary service activities.

Periodicals of general circulation. Extra-Grand Jurisdictional services of Grand Lodge Libraries. Books, booklets, movies, etc., of one Grand Jurisdiction permitted for use in another. The sending of Masonic Committees and missions abroad. The exchange of Grand Lodge Proceedings. Etc., etc.

General agreement on some essentials of External Comity is still incomplete. Among these are: Specific conditions on which to grant official recognition to their Grand Bodies. Grand Lodge responsibility for constituting and fostering Lodges in foreign countries not already under any Grand Lodge. The true and correct Grand Lodge procedure in other countries in cases where general Masonic organization has broken down but where there are some (at least) regular Masons and Lodges. (As in Italy in the 1930’s.)

The attempt to set up a single General, or National, Grand Lodge which began during the Revolutionary War and was not abandoned until after the Civil War was predicated upon the known need for ways and means to enable thousands of American Masonic Bodies and Grand Bodies to work in unity and harmony, lest the American Craft become intellectual by breaking down into self-contained, isolated, mutually exclusive local groups. That need was real but as events have proved a single American Grand Lodge could not have been the satisfaction of it; the body of means and methods which in purpose and practice comprise Comity are more extensive, more free, more adaptable, more satisfying, and more effectual than the means and methods of one Grand Lodge could have been. The system of Comity has given to American Freemasonry everything that a National Grand Lodge could have given to it; and it has given to it many things that a National Grand Lodge would have denied to it.

The Mother Grand Lodge of Speculative Freemasonry was set up in 1717 after it had been discussed by already-existing, self-constituted Lodges in London; though only four of them attended and elected the first Grand Master it is certain that others had consented and, as their actions proved, were ready to unite. In the beginning this Grand Lodge was for no purpose except to revive a general assembly, and to give the Lodges a center where they might occasionally meet. It was an act of comity. There was to be no new Freemasonry ; there was to be a means for the old Freemasonry to work more effectually.

There were many pre-1717 Lodges in England, Ireland, and Scotland; in Scotland alone there were more than 100 before 1700. When a new Lodge was formed (usually of seven or more) it was self-constituted by men who already were Masons, one from a Lodge in one place, another from a Lodge in another, and they thus had ties with other Lodges from the beginning. Each Lodge had a copy of the same old Charges that other Lodges possessed, or it had men in it who knew the essential portions by heart. A Lodge might assist a group to form a Lodge in a nearby community, help it during its formative period, and afterwards maintain close ties with it; these were daughter Lodges. Any Mason regularly made, possessed of the all-important modes of recognition, could visit in any Lodge. This was their comity, the means by which, before a Grand Lodge system was devised, separate and independent Lodges formed a single Fraternity.


In 1860 M.·. W.·. Robert Morris established a secret society of Masons styled by him as The Conservator Movement, and its members were called Conservators. The purposes of this organization were stated by Morris with his characteristic prolixity in a secret circular which he mailed to Grand Masters, Grand Secretaries, Grand Lecturers, and other Grand Lodge leaders in the middle of 1860, and which he signed as “Chief Conservator.” He set down ten objects:

  • To disseminate the Webb-Preston Work.
  • To “discountenance” innovations in the Ritual.
  • To establish national uniformity of “means of recognition,” etc.
  • To establish “a School of Instruction in every Lodge.”
  • To train Masonic [Ritualistic] Lecturers.
  • To train Masons to pass examinations when visiting.
  • To strengthen “the ties that bind Masons generally together.”
  • To detect and expose impostors. To hold conferences among Conservators themselves.
  • To “open the way for a more intimate communion between the Masons of Europe and America.”
  • The recipient was asked to keep the circular ”strictly confidential” ;
  • To fill in answers to form questions ;
  • To sign on a dotted line; and to return the document to Morris in ten days. If a recipient expressed a desire to become a Conservator he received next “Communication No. 2,” also “strictly confidential.” It set forth “The Seven Details or Features of the Plan” which were expected to govern the work of each Conservator:

1. The scheme was to be a closely-guarded secret among the few men in each Lodge who were active Conservators.

2. Each Conservator was to keep in close touch with the Chief Conservator, and carry out the latter’s order. “A journal, styled The Conservator” was to be sent to each member of the organization.

3. The “great aim” was “National Harmony in the Work and Lectures on Symbolical Masonry.” All forms of “Bastard” Work were to be opposed.

4. The “Conservator’s Degree” was to be conferred on each Conservator, “devised for the express purpose.

5. A Vice Chief Conservator was to be present at each Grand Communication of each and every Grand Lodge.

6. “We adopt the mode of disseminating the Work and Lectures which was adopted by the Grand Lodge of England in 1728.”

7. “We require a contribution of Ten Dollars in advance from each Conservator. During the years between 1860 and 1863 Morris issued his journal styled The Conservator some four or five times ; afterwards he addressed his followers through the pages of his magazine, The Voice of Masonry. The “society” was so loosely administered that Morris himself did not know how many were in it, but “guessed” that it may at one time have had 2,795 members. It transpired that the “mode of disseminating” as mentioned under “detail” number 6 was a printed cipher, a tiny book entitled Written Mnemonics Illustrated By Copious Examples From Moral Philosophy, Science, And Religion. The association was governed by Morris himself according to “eight regulations.” The “era” of the association was to begin June 24, 1860, and last until June 24, 1865, at which latter date it would everywhere automatically cease to exist ; this period of 1826 days was described as the Conservator’s Era, or C. E., and letters were to be dated according to it. A secret language, cabalistic signs, etc., were much used. Morris officially declared the termination of the “Society” in the first issue of The Voice of Masonry after June 24, 1860. For the members of his association Morris prepared the “Conservator of Symbolic Masonry” Degree. There could be only one Conservator in each Lodge, but he could confer this Degree on any Master Mason deemed suitable by himself.

The Conservator Movement has thus a secret society. It had national and local officers; its own constitution and rules; its own modes of recognition and a secret language; and though it has to work in a Lodge and on a Lodge; a Lodge had no say about it, and no control over it. It had in effect two general purposes: first, to establish a standard work uniform throughout the Grand Jurisdictions; second, to make the Webb-Preston Work that Standard version. Once they had discovered its existence and had become aware of its nature and purpose Grand Lodges began a determined campaign to abolish the Movement.

It was intolerable to have a secret society at work within the Fraternity itself; it was for a Grand Lodge, not for a voluntary society of outsiders, to determine what its own Standard Work was to be; a Lodge could not permit one of its own members to have more authority than its own Master; nor was Morris himself able to prove that he, and he alone, possessed the Webb-Preston Work in its original form.

In 1866 Morris stated, as already noted, that at its height his association numbered 2,795 members, but it is probable that at least a thousand of these were inactive, or else were prevented by Lodge and Grand Lodge opposition from accomplishing their purposes; moreover Civil War conditions hampered them. The whole movement was quickly aborted and soon passed out of the memory of the American Craft.

NOTE. The most complete set of Conservator literature and correspondence, including a number of private letters from Morris, is in the vaults of the Iowa Grand Lodge Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The most complete published account is The Masonic Conservators, by Ray V. Denslow; Grand Lodge of Missouri; St. Louis; 1931; cloth ; 132 pages. It contains a list of members Lodge by Lodge, and State by State.


If in the same Masonic community two sister Lodges find that they are duplicating each other, or if one finds itself too weak to continue, either of two courses is followed in American practice. The weaker of the two Lodges can surrender its Charter, and its members can affiliate with the other Lodge. Or, the two Lodges can consolidate. A comparison of the forty-nine Codes of American Grand Jurisdictions shows that the Code of Iowa comes close to being perfectly typical of the rules governing consolidation as generally they are in use. The Iowa Code calls for a written ballot; for a majority decision; if the smaller of the two Lodges cannot assemble a quota the Grand Master and other members of Grand Lodge accompanying him can constitute one. (See Sections 188 and 190 of revised Masonic Code of Iowa.)


The paragraph entitled Labarum on page 557 was based on Eusebius, the earliest of the chroniclers of the Christian Church, and the biographer of the Emperor Constantine. Since that paragraph was written a very large quantity of Greek (Koine) MSS. dating from the First to the Fifth Centuries have been recovered by archeologists, notably in the Fayum, once a prosperous Greek-speaking district in an irrigated tract on the Egyptian border. Since these were records written at the time their weight as evidence cannot be ignored.

These documents sustain Eusebius in general outline, but make the story of Constantine’s use of the monogram much more complex. He did not originate it.

The legend of his vision rests on very insecure grounds, partly because though the Athanasians won control at the Council of Nicea, which Constantine had called, and had condemned the Arians as non-Christians, Constantine himself remained an Arian throughout his life until shortly before his death.

The original labarum was not so much a banner as a portrait on cloth, showing Constantines head surrounded by a halo, which was probably designed to be carried as a substitute for his own presence. The halo and the monogram together may have denoted that he was head of the whole Christian world. An old legend has it that his mother, Queen Helen, was an English woman, and that she had discovered the true cross. Long after the death of Constantine the Bishop of Rome produced a document in which the Emperor had willed his headship of the Christian world to Rome; the authenticity of this “Donation of Constantine” was upheld by Rome for centuries. It is proved to have been a forgery, written two hundred years after Constantine; Roman Catholic scholars themselves are agreed on this. For a succinct account see last edition of Encyclopedia Britannia. For full details see Medieval Italy, a brilliant work, by H. B. Cotterill; London; Geo. C. Harrap; 1915.


There is a distinction to be drawn between that which is claimed to be the same thing and that which only resembles something else.

Between identity and mere similarity there is a great difference. This fact is to be kept in mind when considering the past and present organizations allied in appearance or purpose with Freemasonry and those that are but imitating the Institution in greater or less degree. Of these we may instance the curious development known now as Co-Masonry. An extensive discussion of the subject has appeared in the French journal Symbolisms, beginning in 1920, written by Brother Albert Lantoine with the title La Femme dans la Franc-Maçonnerie, meaning Woman in Freemasonry. There is also an article in the Builder April, 1917, by Brother Arthur Edward Waite, dealing more exclusively but briefly with Co-Masonry. There has also been published in the United States the American Co-Mason, Larkspur, Colorado, as the Official organ of this system in America.

Some differences arose among members of the Supreme Council of France, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and sundry Bodies withdrew in 1879 to form the Symbolic Grand Lodge, Le Grande Loge Symbolique de France, the assumption being that the ceremonies conferred in this newly-organized Body were the three fundamental Degrees of the Craft and not the advanced grades of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Lodges and not Chapters being governed by the central authority. However, this is not so important as the action of an independent Lodge, Les Libres Penseurs, a name meaning the freethinkers, and quite expressive of the attitude of the members, well illustrated in the course of subsequent events. This Lodge met at Pecq, a small town north of Paris in the Department Seine et Oise. Mademoiselle (Miss) Maria Dcsraimes was on November 25, 1881, proposed at the Lodge Les Libres Penseurs for membership. She was a well-known French writer upon woman’s suffrage and other sociological questions. Proposed by the Master, Hubron, and half a dozen other members, she was initiated on January 14, 1882, in a large gathering of the Brethren of this organization, the Symbolic Grand Lodge. Presumably the candidate was passed and raised. Of this Lodge we learn that it soon went out of existence and Lantoine (Symbolism, February, 1921, page 54) records that on November 17, 1882, the Master was expelled from Freemasonry. He tells us that at her initiation, Maria Desraimes, in an address of gratitude after the ceremony, pronounced these words:

If the feeble support that I may be able to render you cannot be effective, that fact in itself is small and of little import, but it well has another importance. The door that you have opened to me will not be closed upon me and all the legion that follows me.

The prophecy did not materialize for that Lodge at least. However, the Worshipful Master of the Lodge at Pecq in order to hold his Brethren in hand had not only threatened he would dimit if the admission of the woman was not voted but had also announced that four or five other Lodges, one of which was the Lodge La Justice, would follow the example they set for the Fraternity. But the anticipations were not soon to be realized. Disturbances had arisen in the Lodge. A profession of faith had been uttered there “that no profane should enter the Lodge if he was not imbued with the principles of forethought, utter atheism,” double d’athéisme is the expression. On June 15, 1882, a majority of the Brethren forming this Lodge demanded a restoration of their old discipline.

They exhibited a sentiment of submission and the authorities, June 15, 1883, were assured that “a Lodge is not possessed of self-control to the extent that it steps aside from the General Laws of the constitution.” Lantoine explains that this is to say that they had stricken from their program the proposed admission of women and in their list of regular members the name of Maria Desraimes does not figure:

In 1890 the Lodge La Jerusalem Ecossaise of the Symbolic Grand Lodge already mentioned, at the instigation of Dr. Georges Martin who was a member of this Lodge, addressed to all the other Lodges of France a circular letter inviting them to study the question of the admission of women through the creation of mixed or joint Lodges of both the sexes. The Lodges so approached do not appear to have well understood the purpose. Then the Lodge La Jerusalem Ecossaise decided to pass on to action. Its order of the day, the program or agenda for the Communication of May 8, 1891, bore among the items a “Project of Constituting Mixed Lodges.” The proposition was handled with more restraint than at Pecq.

The Lodge La Jerusalem Ecossaise would not itself initiate women but she would create at her side a mixed or joint, both sexes, Lodge called Le Droit Humain, Human Right, of which the by-laws had already been discussed and determined.

This latter organization under cover of adoption, somewhat modernized, was, Lantoine affirms, a means of attaining the desired end. But the Symbolic Grand Lodge did not fail to take heed of these tactics. The Commission denotative, a species of Board of General Purposes of which the prominent Brother Gustave Mesureur was Chairman, assigned the duty of examining the proposition as regularly submitted and disposed of the matter in dispute by an altogether unfavorable report which occasioned a rather stormy debate. Here are sundry extracts from the official report:

Brother Le Metayer evidenced the regret ” that the Brother Georges Martin as a Mason and as a Past Master of a Lodge violated the Constitution in a style so vigorous.” Brother Friquet “did not understand how the Brother Georges Martin and the brethren who collaborated with him in the founding of a mixed Lodge had the pretension to pass outside the opinion plainly established by the great majority of Lodges and of Masons. In all assemblages, the advice of the majority ought to prevail and be respected ; the promoters of the foundation of a mixed Lodge when they wished to give coherency to a project like that, should forthwith quit the confederation which does not propose to enter that road.

What could be said to Brother Georges Martin was that the new mixed Lodge would not be a regular Lodge and that no one has the right to make known the Masonic words and signs to any associations whatever; that would violate the Constitution; that would be the worst yet, for nobody has the right to take that which does not belong to him.” Dr. Georges Martin, observes Lantoine, took some exception to the revolutionary idea inspired by the foundation of the organization and to explain and excuse his undertaking said, “that he had never taken an obligation which prevented him from the creation of a Rite different from those already existing,” but the hostile arguments followed fast upon the lips of his opponents. Brother Rosenwald remarked that each Freemason at the moment of his initiation took a pledge that he would not reveal any of the Masonic secrets that are confided to him unless to a good and lawful Freemason or in a regularly constituted Lodge, and that a Brother had not the right to make any use of his Masonic equipment for creation of another Rite or of a mixed Lodge. Brother Friquet, member of the Executive Commission, took anew the opportunity for a word of warning. He besought the Brother Georges Martin to consider the consequences of his determination. The Symbolic Grand Lodge would be obliged to give heed to his actions. They would be forced, in order to safeguard their relations with other Masonic Powers, and to exact obedience to the Constitution freely voted, to take necessary measures.

Making an appeal to his Masonic sentiment, and to his well-known devotion, he prayed the Brother, Georges Martin, to have the wisdom of giving up his plan.

Here Brother Georges Martin seemed touched by this avowal. But the sentiment evaporated and three votes, of which his was one, refused to adopt the decision rejecting his project. The result was officially made known in the report of the proceedings of May 11, 1891, to the effect, “The Brother Georges Martin replied that the discussion came too late and the plans were made; he added that there was only one means of hindering that creation and that was to go before the public powers for the purpose of having them refuse the authorization that was going to be asked.” Seemingly they did not intervene before the public authorities and the project was apparently abandoned, at least in the form that had been the purpose to realize it.

They returned in a fresh way. Brothers Goumain-Corneille, Andrien, Schafer and Georges Martin deposited at the office of the Grand Lodge a proposition planned to admit women into Freemasonry. This plan came as an order of the day, a programmed item, on the agenda of July 6, 1891, but as none of the proposers were there to defend it, the project was unanimously rejected.

Was the Symbolic Grand Lodge opposed to feminine initiation? Did she evidence any retrograde spirit? Yes and no. As we have said above, she was tied by international relations to a conformity with the Landmarks. She had existed for a dozen years.

She was treated as an equal with rival Obediences, even with the Supreme Council which finally had recognized her, says Lantoine, and it displeased her to compromise her situation by an experience, however interesting, but which might by a single stroke set her aside from the Freemasonry of the world. The gesture that she had been able to make at her birth, in adopting a program clearly new, might be more difficult for accomplishment, when, as something altogether revolutionary came along, she struggled to show herself worthy of the consideration that was accorded other Powers. For that reason from year to year, far from permitting conviction by the perseverance of Doctor Martin, she opposed him to the end. When the mixed Lodge at last was created without the guardianship of a masculine Lodge, and announced officially its existence in January, 1894, under the title of “Le Droit Humain-Grand Lodge Symbolique Ecossaise,” not only did she refuse to enter into relations with it but she was abusive under a plea that might lead to confusion. She sent to all the affiliations the following communication under date of March 21, 1894:

We have been informed by a letter from Madame Maria Desraimes notifying us of the foundation of an Obedience entitled Grande Lodge Symbolique écossaise de France: Le Droit Humain and requesting of us an exchange of fraternal relations.

The Symbolic Grand Lodge, faithful to its previous Pledges, which have always refused the admission of women in Freemasonry, has refused to take that request into consideration. We have ascertained with surprise that this new Association has borrowed, without our consent or our counsel, the same title as our Confederation and of a certain number of the articles of our Constitution ; this proceeding compels us to inform you that in spite of this similarity we have not taken any part in the creation of that Society and we mean to remain strangers to its operation. The following month the Lodge La Jerusalem Ecossaise carried on its agenda the notice of a discussion on Secret Societies by the Brother Mayer, “active member of the mixed Lodge Le Droit Humain,” and the Grand Lodge, not satisfied with calling the attention of the Lodge to the observation of the rules, voted also the preparation of a circular letter calling upon the Lodges “not to admit to their solemn sessions the members, men or women, of the mixed Lodge Le Droit Humain.”

Needless to say that the supreme council did not accept with any more favor the birth of the mixed Lodge. The Lodges were told “that they ought to deem as nothing the communication addressed to it by the new group and to avoid all relations with it.”

One may remark, says Lantoine, that the request for recognition had been made by Maria Desraimes.

Brethren felt that Georges Martin was the true founder of the Lodge La Droit Humain and he doubtless it was that the Brother Dequinsieux had in view when, at the session of June 12, 1894, of the Symbolic Grand Lodge, he demanded, “that the Symbolic Grand Lodge proceed to an investigation to ascertain who is the Brother who has given the Masonic signs and words to women, and that Brother be put on trial.”

But the defensive argument was given by a Deputy, Brother Serin, who explained by a report, probably by the Secretary of the session. “It is the Sister Maria Desraimes who had received the three symbolic degrees at the Lodge, The Freethinkers, at the East of Pecq, Seine and Oise, having grouped around her a selection of women and conferred upon them the symbolic degrees, as was incontestably her right, and in due course founded the mixed Lodge Le Droit Humain with the cooperation of a Brother”

This explanation was perhaps satisfactory to the hearers but far from acceptable to most Freemasons elsewhere. Perhaps the strain of these discussions was too severe for the continued existence of the Symbolic Grand Lodge itself, which expired, that is to say since 1896, when agreeably to a sovereignty granted by the Supreme Council to the Symbolic Lodges, these were fused with the others into the Grand Lodge of France.

After the initiating, passing and raising, on March 14, April 1 and April 4, 1893, according to Brother Waite, of some seventeen candidates, in which ceremonies Miaria Desraimes and Georges Martin seem to have participated, in the year 1900 the Lodge claimed to possess and have the right to confer the whole Thirty-Three Degrees, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite series united with those previously assumed. The title of Grande Loge Symbolique Écossaise continued in use and the movement then spread from France to India, Great Britain and the United States. About 1902 the name Maçonnerie Mixte, or Joint Masonry, seems to have given way to Co-Masonry. There were Lodges at Benares, Paris and London by 1903. The name of the first English Lodge was Human Duty. In 1908 there was a division, one party being headed by Mrs. Annie Besant, prominent in public life in Great Britain and India.

The reader will have noticed in this survey of the situation that the initiating ceremonies practiced by these bodies were not claimed to be other than those pertaining to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and which are not authorized by this organization to be used in the United States of America nor in Great Britain. whatever the ritual may have been originally, when used for the initiation of Maria Desraimes, there have been intimations that it has been materially changed, though to what extent these alterations have gone is impossible for us to determine with accuracy.

Brother George Fleming Moore printed articles entitled Notes from India and Co-Masonry in the October, 1910, and February, 1911, issues of the New Age, of which he then was the editor. These essays examined various assertions that have been circulated, one being that made in the columns of the Cherag, of July, 1910, this being a journal published at Bombay, India, in the interests of a society calling itself Masonic and using the name Universal Masonry. This magazine published a claim that Madame H. P. Blavatsky was a Thirty-third Degree Mason. In proof of this statement reference is made to the Franklin Register of February 8, 1878, for a copy of her Diploma which is reprinted as follows:

To the Glory of the Sublime Architect of the Universe.

Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, Derived through the Charter of the Sovereign Sanctuary of America, From the Grand Council of the Grand Lodge of France.

Salutation on all points of the triangle. Respect to the Order. Peace, Tolerance, Truth.

To all illustrious and enlightened Masons throughout the World-Union, Prosperity, Friendship. Fraternity.

We, the Thrice-Illustrious Sovereign Grand Master General, and we, the Sovereign Grand Conservators, thirty-third and last degree of the Sovereign Sanctuary of England, Wales, etc., decorated the Grand Star of Sirius, etc., Grand Commanders of the Three Legions of the Knights of Masonry, by virtue of the high authority with which we are invested, have declared and proclaimed and by these presents do declare and proclaim our illustrious and enlightened Brother, H. P. Blavatsky, to be an Apprentice, Companion, Perfect Mistress, Sublime Elect Scotch Lady, Grand Elect, Chevaliere de Rose Croix, Adoniramite Mistress. Perfect Venerable Mistress, and a crowned Princess of Rite of Adoption.

Given under our hands and the seals of the Sovereign Sanctuary for England and Wales, sitting in the Valley of London, this 24th day of November, 1877, year of true Light 000,000,000.

John Yarker, 33 Sovereign Grand Master.
M. Caspari. 33 Grand Secretary.
A. D. Loewenstark, 33 Grand Secretary.

Brother Moore comments on the above document thus :

A paper signed by John Yarker, M. Caspari, and A. D.Loewenstark, which shows on its very face that it is merely a certificate of membership in the Rite of Adoption. The very names of the Degrees given in this diploma show that it was and is not a Masonic document. and that the men who gave it had no intention of creating any such false impression by it. If Brother Wadia had known anything of Masonry he would have seen and known that the Rite of Adoption was made for women and is only an adjunct to regular Masonry and not in any sense a part of it. The degrees which Madame Blavatsky received according to this paper were those of Apprentice Companion, Perfect Mistress, Sublime Elect Scotch Lady, etc., etc., of the Rite of Adoption. To put forward such a document as evidence that a woman is a Mason is the various trifling and seems to us unworthy of serious comment. Thousands of women have been members of the Rite of Adoption and have not claimed to be Masons, because .they knew better, and it has been reserved for a man to put forward such an utterly absurd claim for a woman who is dead and whose good friends say that she never claimed to be a Mason.

When we say the good friends of Madame Blavatsky assert that she never claimed to be a Mason we refer to members of the Theosophical Society.

Shortly after the issuance of our article, Notes from India, we received a letter from Brother J. H. Fussell, of Point Loma, California, taking us to task for intimating that Madame Blavatsky ever claimed to be a Mason and urging us in the strongest terms to correct what he deemed an error and one that is unfair to the memory of H. P. Blavatsky.

In view of what is here said about Theosophy, it is but fair to add a frank statement bearing the imprint of the Aryan Theosophical Press at Point Loma and credited to Madame Katherine Tingley of the International Headquarters there. She states :

Let me first state what is my attitude toward Masonry.

Many of the happiest recollections of my childhood are associated with my dear grandfather, who was one of the best-known Masons in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and received some of the highest Masonic honors in these States.

It was from him that I received my earliest education. It was from his Masonic books that I learned to read and spell and draw, and from his noble and sweet character I came to regard Masonry as associated with the best in life. ln fact, I came to think that all the best men in the world must be Masons.

Now it does not necessarily follow that this last statement is true, for some of the noblest men 1 have met have not been Masons ; still, on the other hand many of the best men I have known have belonged to the Masonic Order, and I have seen nothing but the best results flow from a deep interest in Masonry wherever I have known of it, and from my knowledge and acquaintance of Masons I regard Masonry and the principles which underlie it as a great force for good in the world.

I cannot understand how any true woman would wish to intrude into an Order held to be exclusively for men.

There are lines of work which I hold are exclusively in the province of men, just as there are lines of work which are exclusively in the province of women. I hold that woman can only wield her full share of influence in the world from a knowledge gained by using and fulfilling her opportunities as a woman, and in her own sphere. I consider that she steps away from her true position and greatly lessens her influence by seeking to invade the sphere of man.

Why should women be disturbed that men have an organization which is exclusively for men? As I understand Masonry it seems to inculcate all the virtues, honor, rectitude, chastity, etc., for this much has often been publicly stated by Masons ; and speaking generally, I have no hesitation in saying that from my experience, the majority of them, to a degree, at least, try to exemplify these virtues in their lives. There may be some who fall far short of the Masonic ideals–in our present disturbed civilization it can hardly be expected otherwise–but that cannot be laid at the door of Masonry, but of human frailty, and as a result of men’s failing to grasp their higher opportunities in life.

Many a woman has known of the uplifting and refining power, tending toward self-restraint and nobility and virtue, which Masonry has exercised in the life of brother, husband, or son; and without in any way encroaching on Masonry or seeking to pry into its secrets, every true woman, in the light of the knowledge that is publicly given out by Masons themselves of Masonic principles, can, if she will, help brother, husband, son, or friend, to be true to these principles and be a true Mason. What is needed today by both men and women is a greater respect, first for themselves, in their true natures as man and woman, and following that a greater respect each for the other–of women for men and of men for women.

Such respect implies no invasion of one another’s sphere, but the very contrary, and in fact can only suffer terribly from such invasion. There is a common ground on which men and women can meet, which is pre-eminently in the home.

lt is also in the world of art, music, literature, education, and all the highest ideals of social, civic, and national life.

l have had many letters from all classes, asking questions as to my attitude in this matter, seeing that the name Theosophy has most unfortunately and without any warrant become associated with Co-Masonry.

Such association is absolutely unwarranted, and I hold that no true Theosophist will give his adherence or support to Co-Masonry. The fact that any person or body of persons should attempt to attach themselves to an organization from which, by the rules of that organization, they are excluded, would make me seriously question their motives, and one would probably find such people to be either fanatics or extremely credulous, or ——–! Whatever knowledge such people may think they have in the matter, it must indeed be very limited, or rather no knowledge at all, for otherwise they would see the absurdity of trying to attach themselves to an organization in which, in the very nature of things, they would be cut of place. If it were possible to conceive of the secrets of Masonry being given to a woman, from my understanding of the matter it could be only through some one unfaithful to his vows as a Mason, and no true or self-respecting woman would think of availing herself of such information; nor could it, by the nature of things be held to be reliable, for he who is unfaithful in one thing will be unfaithful in others, and I prophesy that this attempt of certain women to seek admission where they do not belong can result only in confusion, disaster, and serious embarrassment for all such women.

Let me say one other word. We know there is true coin and counterfeit, and I am inclined to think that this Co-Masonry is a counterfeit, and that it is not based on true Masonry. Whatever the basis on which it is founded, it is my opinion that most probably it has grown out of some pseudo-Masonic body. Theosophy has its counterfeits, and all truth has, and this I know from my own personal experience. And just as there are certain small coteries which use the name Theosophy and seek to impress the public as being a part of the Theosophical Movement founded by Madame H. P. Blavatsky, and against which all true Theosophists protest, so, too, I hold that the attempt to use the word Masonry by one not entitled to its use, in the manner in which it is so used, should also call forth protest. Every Theosophist will protest against the attempt to relate Co-Masonry with Theosophy, and as all true Masons repudiate Co-Masonry, so will all members of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosopllical Society, the faithful followers of H. P. Blavatsky repudiate the so-called Theosophy with which the alleged Co-Masonry is claimed to be associated.

The subject in general of Woman in Freemasonry is examined freely in this work (see Woman).


The combination of the Freemasons in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to demand a higher rate of wages, which eventually gave rise to the enactment of the Statutes of Laborers, is thus described by a writer in the Gentleman’s Magazine (January, 1740, page 17): “King Edward III took so great an affection to Windsor, the place of his birth, that he instituted the Order of the Garter there, and rebuilt and enlarged the castle, with the church and chapel of Saint George. This was a great work and required a great many hands ; and for the carrying of it on writs were directed to the sheriffs of several counties to send thither, under the penalty of £ 100 each, such a number of Masons by a day appointed. London sent forty, so did Devon, Somerset, and several other counties; but several dying of the plague, and others deserting the service, new writs were issued to send up supplies. Yorkshire sent sixty, and other counties proportionably, and orders were given that no one should entertain any of these runaway Masons, under pain of forfeiture of all their goods. Hereupon, the Masons entered into a combination not to work, unless at higher wages. They agreed upon tokens, etc., to know one another by, and to assist one another against being impressed, and not to work unless free and on their own terms. Hence they called themselves Freemasons; and this combination continued during the carrying on of these buildings for several years. The wars between the two Houses coming on in the next reign, the discontented herded together in the same manner, and the gentry also underhand supporting the malcontents, occasioned several Acts of Parliament against the combination of Masons and other persons under that denomination the titles of which Acts are still to be seen in the printed statutes of those reigns.”

Ashmole, in his History of the Order of the Garter (page 80), confirms the fact of the impressment of workmen by King Edward ; and the combination that followed seems but a natural consequence of this oppressive act; but the assertion that the origin of Freemasonry as an organized institutions of builders is to be traced to such a combination, is not supported by the facts of history, and, indeed, the writer himself admits that the Freemasons denied its truth.


  1. The presiding officer in a Commandery of Knights Templar. His style is Eminent, and the jewel of his office is a cross, from which issue rays of light. In England and Canada he is now styled Preceptor.
  2. The Superintendent of a Commandery, as a house or residence of the Ancient Knights of Malta, was so called.


See Grand Commander


The presiding officer in a Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. His style is Illustrious. In a Grand Consistory the presiding officer is a Grand Commander-in-Chief, and he is styled Very Illustrious.


Seventh and last grade of the Philosophic Rite. Thory says this was arranged by the Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree to make up Degree Thirty-one though previously used, the Metropolitan Chapter possessing one of the same name, No. 71, eighth series.


l. In the United States all regular assemblies of Knights Templar are called Commanderies, and must consist of the following officers: Eminent Commander, Generalissimo, Captain-General, Prelate, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, Recorder, Warder, Standard-Bearer, Sword Bearer, and Sentinel. These Commanderies derive their warrants of Constitution from a Grand Commandery, or, if there is no such body in the State in which they are organized, from the Grand Encampment of the United States. They confer the Degrees of Companion of the Red Cross, Knight of Malta, and Knight Templar.

Under the present law of the Grand Encampment, Knight Templar of the United States, the Order of the Red Cross is conferred in the Council Chamber, the Order of Malta in a Priory and the Order of the Temple in the Asylum of the Commandery.

In a Commandery of Knights Templar, as familiar to Doctor Mackey, the throne is situated in the East.

Above it are suspended three banners : the center one bearing a cross, surmounted by a glory; the left one having inscribed on it the emblems of the Order, and the right one, a paschal lamb. The Eminent Commander is seated on the throne; the Generalissimo, Prelate, and Past Commanders on his right; the Captain-General on his left; the Treasurer and Recorder, as in a Symbolic Lodge; the Senior Warden at the southwest angle of the triangle, and upon the right of the first division; the Junior Warden at the northwest angle of the triangle, and on the left of the third division; the Standard-Bearer in the West, between the Sword-Bearer on his right, and the Warder on his left ; and in front of him is a stall for the initiate. The Knights are arranged in equal numbers on each side, and in front of the throne. In England and Canada a body of Knights Templar is called a Preceptory.

2. The houses or residences of the Knights of Malta were called Commanderies, and the aggregation of them in a nation was called a Priory or Grand Priory.


When three or more Commanderies are instituted in a State, they may unite and form a Grand Commandery. under the regulations prescribed by the Grand Encampment of the United States. They have the superintendence of all Commanderies of Knight’s Templar that are holden in their respective Jurisdictions.

A Grand Commandery meets at least annually, and its officers consist of a Grand Commander, Deputy Grand Commander, Grand Generalissimo, Grand Captain-General, Grand Prelate, Grand Senior and Junior Warden, Grand Treasurer, Grand Recorder, Grand Warder, Grand Standard-Bearer, and Grand Sword-Bearer.


To facilitate the transaction of business, a Lodge or Grand Lodge often refers a subject to a particular committee for investigation and report. By the usages of Freemasonry, committees of this character are always appointed by the presiding officer; and the Master of a Lodge, when present at the meeting of a committee, may act, if he thinks proper, as its chairman; for the Master presides over any assemblage of the Craft in his Jurisdiction.


By the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, all matters of business to be brought under the consideration of the Grand Lodge must previously be presented to a General Committee, consisting of the President of the Board of Benevolence, the Present and Past Grand Officers, and the Master of every regular Lodge, who meet on the fourteenth day immediately preceding each quarterly communication.

No such regulation prevails among the Grand Lodge of America.


In most Lodges there is a standing Committee of Charity, appointed at the beginning of the year, to which, in general, applications for relief are referred by the Lodge. In cases where the Lodge does not itself take immediate action, the committee is also invested with the power to grant relief to a limited amount during the recess of the Lodge.


In many Lodges the Master, Wardens, Treasurer, and Secretary constitute a Committee of Finance, to which is referred the general supervision of the finances of the Lodge.


In none of the Grand Lodges of this century up to early in the eighteenth century, wall such a committee as that on foreign correspondence ever appointed. A few of them had corresponding secretaries, to whom were entrusted the duty of attending to the correspondence of the Body; a duty which was very generally neglected. A report on the proceedings of other Bodies was altogether unknown.

Grand Lodges met and transacted the local business of their own Jurisdictions without any reference to what was passing abroad.

But improvements in this respect began to show themselves. Intelligent Freemasons saw that it would no longer do to isolate themselves from the Fraternity in other countries, and that, if any moral or intellectual advancement was to be expected, it must be derived from the intercommunication and collision of ideas ; and the first step toward this advancement was the appointment in every Grand Lodge of a committee whose duty it should be to collate the proceedings of other Jurisdictions, and to eliminate from them the most important items. These committees were, however, very slow in assuming the functions which devolved upon them, and in coming up to the full measure of their duties.

At first their reports were little more than “reports of progress.” No light was derived from their collation, and the Bodies which had appointed them were no wiser after their reports had been read than they were before.

As a specimen of the first condition and subsequent improvement of these committees on foreign correspondence, let us take at random the transactions of any Grand Lodge old enough to have a history and intelligent enough to have made any progress; and, for this purpose, the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, two volumes of which lie conveniently at hand, will do as well Many other.

The Grand Lodge of Ohio was organized in January, 1808. From that time to 1829, its proceedings contain no reference to a committee on correspondence; and except a single allusion to the Washington Convention, made in the report of a special committee, the Freemasons of Ohio seem to have had no cognizance, or at least to have shown no recognition, of any Freemasonry which might be outside of their own Jurisdiction.

But in the year 1830, for the first time, a committee was appointed to report on the foreign correspondence of The Grand Lodge. This committee bore the title of the Committee on Communications from Foreign Grand Lodges, etc., and made during the session a report of eight lines in length, which contained just the amount of information that could be condensed in that brief space, and no more.

In 1831, the report was fifteen lines long ; in 1832, ten lines; in 1833, twelve lines; and so on for several years, The reports being sometimes a little longer and sometimes a little shorter; but the length being always measured by lines, and not by pages, until, in 1837, there was a marked falling off the report consisting only of one line and a half. Of this report, which certainly cannot be accused of verbosity, the following is an exact copy: “Nothing has been presented for the consideration of your committee requiring the action of the Grand Lodge. ”

In 1842 the labors of the committee began to increase, and their report fills a page of the proceedings.

Things now rapidly improved. In 1843, the report was three pages long ; in 1845, four pages; in 1846, seven, in 1848, nearly thirteen; and 1853, fourteen.; in 1856, thirty; and in 1857, forty-six. Thenceforward there is no more fault to be found.

The reports of the future committees were of full growth, and we do not again find such an unmeaning phrase as ”nothing requiring the action of the Grand Lodge.”

The history of these reports in other Grand Lodges is the same as that in Ohio.

Beginning with a few lines which announced the absence of all matters worthy of consideration, they have grown up to the full stature of elaborate essays in which the most important and interesting subjects of Masonic history, philosophy, and jurisprudence are discussed, generally with much ability.

At this day the reports of the committees on foreign correspondence in all the Grand Lodges of this country constitute an important portion of the literature of the Institution. The chairmen of these committees for the other members fill, for the most part, only the post of “sleeping partners”-are generally men of education and talent, who, by the very occupation in which they are employed, of reading the published proceedings of all the Grand Lodges in correspondence with their own, have become thoroughly conversant with the contemporary history of the Order, while a great many of them have extended their studies in its previous history. The Reportorial Corps, as these hard-laboring Brethren are beginning to call themselves, exercise, of course, a not trifling influence in the Order. These committees annually submit to their respective Grand Lodges a mass of interesting information, which is read with great avidity by their Brethren. Gradually -for at first it was not their custom-they have added to the bare narration of facts their comments on Masonic law and their criticisms on the decisions made in other Jurisdictions. These comments and criticisms have very naturally their weight, sometimes beyond their actual worth; and it will therefore be proper to take a glance at what ought to be the character of a report on foreign correspondence.

In the first place, then, a reporter of foreign correspondence should be, in the most literal sense of Shakespeare’s words, a brief chronicler of the times. His report should contain a succinct account of everything of importance that is passing in the Masonic world, so far as his materials supply him with the information.

But, remembering that he is writing for the instruction of hundreds, perhaps thousands, many of whom cannot spare much time, and many others who have no inclination to spare it, he should eschew the sin of tediousness, never forgetting that ”brevity is the soul of wit.” He should omit all details that have no special interest; should husband his space for important items, and be exceedingly parsimonious in the use of unnecessary expletives, whose only use is to add to the length of a line. In a word, he should remember that he is not an orator but a historian. A rigid adherence to these principles would save the expense of many printed pages to his Grand Lodge, and the waste of much time to his readers.

These reports will form the germ of future Masonic history. The collected mass will be an immense one, and it should not be unnecessarily enlarged by the admiration of trivial items. In the next place, although we admit that these “Brethren of the reportorial corps” have peculiar advantages in reading the opinions of their contemporaries on subjects of Masonic jurisprudence, they would be mistaken in supposing that these advantages must necessarily make them Masonic lawyers. Ex quovis ligno non fit Mercurius, meaning in Latin, a Mercury (the Roman god of commerce) is not to be made out of any chance piece of wood. It is not every man that will make a lawyer. A peculiar turn of mind and a habit of close reasoning, as well as a thorough acquaintance with the law itself, are required to fit one for the investigation of questions of jurisprudence.

Reporters, therefore, should assume the task of adjudicating points of law with much diffidence. They should not pretend to make a decision ex cathedra (officially or with authority, from the Latin, meaning literally from the bishop’s throne or the professor’s chair), but only to express an opinion ; and that opinion they should attempt to sustain by arguments that may convince their readers.

Dogmatism is entirely out of place in a Masonic report on foreign correspondence. But if tediousness and dogmatism are displeasing, how much more offensive must be rudeness and personality. Courtesy is a Masonic as well as a knightly virtue, and the reporter who takes advantage of his official position to speak rudely of his Brethren, or makes his report the vehicle of scurrility and abuse most strangely forgets the duty and respect which he owes to the Grand Lodge which be represents and the Fraternity to which be addresses himself.

And, lastly, a few words as to style. These reports we have already said, constitute an important feature of Masonic literature. It should be, then, the object and aim of everyone to give to them a tone and character which shall reflect honor on the society whence they emanate, and enhance the reputation of their authors. The style cannot always be scholarly, but it should always be chaste ; it may sometimes want eloquence, but it should never be marked by vulgarity. Coarseness of language and slang phrases are manifestly out of place in a paper which treats of subjects such as naturally belong to a Masonic document.

Wit and humor we would not, of course, exclude. The Horatian maxim bids us sometimes to unbend and old Menander thought it would not do always to appear wise. Even the solemn Johnson could sometimes perpetrate a joke, and Sidney Smith has enlivened his lectures on moral philosophy with numerous witticisms.

There are those who delight in the stateliness of Coleridge; but for ourselves we do not object to the levity of Lamb, though we would not care to descend to the vulgarity of Rabelais. To sum up the whole matter in a few words these reports on foreign correspondence should be succinct, and, if you please, elaborate chronicles of all passing events in the Masonic world; they should express the opinions of their authors on points of Masonic law, not as judicial dicta (Latin, verdicts), but simply as opinions, not to be dogmatically enforced, but to be sustained and supported by the best arguments that the writers can produce; they should not be made the vehicles of personal abuse or vituperation; and, lastly, they should be clothed in language worthy of the literature of the Order:


The well-known regulation which forbids private committees in the Lodge, that is, select conversations between two or more members, in which the other members are not permitted to join, is derived from the Old Charges: “You are not to hold private committees or separate conversation, without leave from the Master nor to talk of anything impertinent or unseemly, nor to interrupt the Master or Wardens, or any brother speaking to the Master” (see Constitutions, 1723, page 53).


See Report of a committee


See Gavel


Found in some early meetings .Freemasonry and probably meant for common


The meeting of a Lodge is so called. There is a peculiar significance in this term. To communicate, which, in the Old English form, was to common, originally meant to share in common with others. The great sacrament of the Christian Church, which denotes a participation in the mysteries of the religion and a fellowship in the church, is called a communion, which is fundamentally the same as a communication, for be who partakes of the communion is said to communicate. Hence the meetings of Masonic Lodges are called communications, to signify that it is not simply the ordinary meeting of a society for the transaction of business, but that such meeting is the fellowship of men engaged in a common pursuit, and governed by a common principle, and that there is therein a communication or participation of those feelings and sentiments that constitute a true brotherhood.

The communications of Lodges are regular or stated and special or emergent. Regular communications are held under the provision of the by-laws, but special communications are called by order of the Master. It is a regulation that no special communication can alter, amend, or rescind the proceedings of a regular communication.


The meeting of a Grand Lodge


When the peculiar mysteries of a Degree are bestowed upon a candidate by mere verbal description of the bestower, without his being made to pass through the constituted ceremonies, the Degree is technically said to be communicated. This mode is, however, entirely confined in America to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

The Degrees may in that Rite be thus conferred in any place where secrecy is secured; but the prerogative of communicating is restricted to the presiding officers of Bodies of the Rite, who may communicate certain of the Degrees upon candidates who have been previously duly elected, and to Inspectors and Deputy Inspectors-General of the Thirty-third Degree, who may communicate all the Degrees of the Rite, except the last, to any persons whom they may deem qualified to receive them.


Anciently Grand Lodges, which were then called General Assemblies of the Craft, were held annually. But it is said that the Grand Master Inigo Jones instituted quarterly communications at the beginning of the seventeenth century, which were continued by his successors, the Earl of Pembroke and Sir Christopher Wren, until the infirmities of the latter compelled him to neglect them (see Constitutions, 1738, page 99). On the revival in 1717, prevision was made for the resumption ; and in the twelfth of the thirty-nine Regulations of 1721 it was declared that the Grand Lodge must have a quarterly communication about Michaelmas, Christmas and Lady-Day (see Constitutions, 1723, page 61). These quarterly communications are still retained by the Grand Lodge of England, and in America by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, but all other American Grand Lodges have adopted the old system of annual communications.


See Bread, Consecrated


Capital of the Province of Como in Northern Italy, situated at South end of West branch of Lake of Como, about thirty miles from Milan, and today is an industrial city. Its interest to Freemasons is on account of it being the center from which radiated the Comacine Masters, who descended from the Roman Colleges of Artificers and who built for the Lombards and others during their reign and carried their Art and influence into the Cathedral building of the Renaissance (see Comacinc Masters).

The archeologists have determined The form of the older city of Roman times to have been rectangular.

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